Each week, Tony Budny pens SCREAMING INTO THE VOID and looks at the best in writing and social media conversation around the biggest issues in beer. If you feel something should be included, have a tip, or just want to sound off, feel free to look him up on Twitter @DrinksTheThings or email DCBeer.
Welcome to The Void. No, the Void is not actually hiring and has a current staff of one. I make $0. But I have some serious business to talk to you all about before we get to the jokes. If you’re reading this and you are a Maryland resident, I have some questions for you: did you call your state senator? Do you know who your state senator is? Do you know you have a state senator? If you answered no to any of these questions, please pay close attention.
First, I’d like you to know that since you are a resident of a state, you have a senator at your disposal. We still, as of this publishing time, have representation in this form of government. This week, the MD House passed, unanimously might I add, HB 1283, and that sends the bill to the Senate for markup and debate. It is devastating to craft breweries in a state that had made incremental gains in making laws friendly to their existence in the past decade. (And thank you to Naptown Pint for the tireless reporting on it.) Here she provides a perspective of what wholesalers, one of the industry's tiers that stands to benefit most if this bill passes as is, do with brewers on a regular basis. It isn’t cooperative, shall we say. Her latest has a conversation with state Comptroller Peter Franchot panning the bill and the process of how it got here. Also on DCBeer, Greg Parnas has a point by point synopsis of what this would do to brewers in Maryland.
So here’s where you come in. Go here, find your elected officials, and call or email. My senator’s office said my email sent to them was printed and put into record. Here is a handy script to send when making the call or writing the email. Once you do that, you have officially made your voice heard. I’m not going to say you have helped save craft beer in Maryland, but you may have just saved many of your favorite businesses time and money and helped them keep people employed.
After that fiasco, we need some positive local news, and Hellbender is here to provide it. Bankruptcy court has ruled that their DC distribution contract is void, and they can immediately begin to self-distribute in the city. This is, as they say in the release, a necessary step toward their prosperity. Drink a Hellbender today to celebrate. Also consider buying tickets for the Hopfest, link contained above.
Virginia is awash in beer. Much of it is good. You should also drink some of that. No I’m not trying to get you drunk, I promise. Not this minute at least.
Speaking of, Kai Leszkowicz of Virginia’s own Aslin Beer Company sits down for a candid talk with Good Beer Hunting in which he reveals the location of the new brewery in planning.
The saga of Bardo by Nats park continues. They got some bad news about their permits this week and will not be open for the summer.
If all this interests you and you’re good with people, then maybe you want to hear about a local job in the industry.
Ralph Steadman came back to America and talked Flying Dog, lawsuits, and the First Amendment on All About Beer. Flying Dog is releasing a bunch of chili-infused beers if you’re into that sort of thing.
Does craft beer have a gender problem? If you are an avid reader of The Void (Hi, Dad), you already know the answer to this question. You know what they say, if you have to ask the question…
Bryan Roth goes in on Route 2 Brewing, the subject of one of last week’s gender-related links, and the Indianapolis Star for granting anonymity to discuss their sexist branding.
Just in case you're not drunk enough yet, here are 17 Russian-themed imperial stouts to drink.
Industry-wide growth is slowing down, and legacy brewers are attempting to weather the storm. Bryan Roth has a suggestion:
Spoiler alert: JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCE.
And it's a suggestion many new breweries are taking to heart, because it's getting hard for smaller legacy brands to stay afloat, says Jason Notte.
Constellation, the parent company of Ballast Point, is in a little bit of hot water over their lobbying efforts. We just talked about politics at the top of this article. It all, unfortunately, fits together.
Since we talked about politics again, here is some good news: Washington Human Rescue Alliance is renting out feral cats to help with any current or potential rodent problems. And with breweries a hot-bed of perishable and sugar-laden ingredients, having a feline around to chase away any sneaky mice can be helpful. Right Proper has already taken one in for their brew facility.
Stone Brewing created a beer with recycled water, or as I call it, brewing beer. This is water. People seem to have a problem with this, yet put filters on their taps. “Recycled” water is pumped into rivers all the time and is a large part of public water sources anyway. It is water. Drink it.
Festival season is upon us. If you go, here are some tips on how to survive. Please do not drink straight from the taps, this is generally frowned upon.
Baseball season is also here, and stadiums have begun to take notice of patrons’ desires to drink a wider variety of beer:
It also helps when most of these are under the increasingly wide portfolio of a company that rhymes with Paybee Inlev.
We’ve reached the end for this week. Don’t forget, Maryland residents, to call your state senator and tell them why you don’t like HB 1283. I’ll leave you with this: