News Hard Fought Franchise Reform Passes in Wyoming

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has signed Senate File 0079 (SF 0079), a franchise reform bill into law. The bill has been a long fought and negotiated compromise between the states beer wholesalers and craft brewers to provide some relief to small brewers when terminating a distributor.

The legislation will go into effect July 1, 2024.

The bill allows both in-state and out-of-state brewers producing less than 25,000 barrels per year to terminate contracts with their wholesaler without cause, removing a requirement for lengthy and costly litigation between the parties.

The bill creates a 45-day window and a “good faith estimate” fair market value payment to the wholesaler. If the wholesaler and brewer disagree on the amount, the final compensation due will be established by binding arbitration, according to a press release from the Brewers Association.

“Thanks to the tireless advocacy of the Wyoming Craft Brewers Guild, in partnership with the Brewers Association, and cooperation with the Wyoming Beer Wholesalers Association, antiquated beer franchise laws are being updated and leveling the playing field in a challenging and consolidating market,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO, Brewers Association.

The bill took a year of negotiating between wholesalers and the Wyoming Brewers Guild and is a check in the “win column” for craft brewers who have been fighting franchise laws in numerous states for years.

“From coast to coast, states are taking a hard look at how their beer franchise laws impact small brewers, and I’m very happy to see Wyoming leading the way with SF 79,” said Sam DeWitt, state government affairs director, Brewers Association. “Bills like SF 79 will help level the playing field and give small brewers a voice in how their beer is bought and sold.”

See the full press release here.

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