The Virginia Craft Newsmaster
December 20, 2019
VCBG Government Affairs
ABC "20% Rule" Circular
ABC Label and Online Transactions Reform
ABC Permit and License Reform
ABC Sample Size Reform
ABC Multi-Manufacturers Event License Reform
ABC Temporary Distribution Agreements - VA Beer Franchise Act Waiver
Brewery Walking Tour Reform
Tied-House Ownership and Shared Employee Reform Study
Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (S. 362/H.R. 1175)

The 2020 Virginia General Assembly will be a heavy lift.  Over the last year the VCBG has been working on the largest ABC permit and license reform in history.  The total reform of ABC Permits and Licenses will be the primary focus of the VCBG next session.  The reforms will also consolidate 12 different Banquet Licenses to 5, including the Manufacturers' Banquet License.  The VCBG was also able to secure the consolidation of licenses and permits without a total fee increase.  Finally, VCBG has also requested ABC Label and Online Transactions reform to be included in the bill. The VCBG estimates that its work in this matter will save members $150,000+ over the next five years and will result in another $100,000 in cost avoidanceUpdates and changes will be available at

Sample sizes are limited to a maximum of 12 ounces.  Since the industry standard varies up to 16 ounces, the VCBG has requested that the statute change to reflect this fact.  This will be included in the the ABC Permit and License Reform bill.  The Manufacturers Event License will be part of the overall restructuring, but the VCBG has also requested that statutory language memorialize the "multi-manufacturers" provision allowed by ABC regulation.
After 18 months of advocacy, the ABC issued partial guidance on the "20% Rule" for tasting room sales.  Circular 19-03 was requested by the VCBG and endorsed in its entirety.  For purposes of implementing § 4.1-208 of the Code of Virginia, "manufacture" includes, but is not limited to, beer brewed, blended, fermented, finished, aged or packaged on the licensed premises. Performing any of these processes will constitute "manufacture" in determining if 20% of the volume of beer sold on the licensed premises is produced on the premises.

The VCBG is supporting legislation to allow w alking tour operators to bring tours to breweries that do not have prepared food on site by removing the prepared food requirement. Notably, this is already allowed for tours that take place on a bus, van, or other vehicle. The bill simply gives walking tour operators the same privileges as bus tours. It is also one more opportunity to increase craft beer tourism and marketing opportunities for members - every ounce counts!

ABC Temporary Distribution Agreements 
3 VAC 5-30 (Tied-House) and §§ 4.1-103, 4.1-111, 4.1-216 B (1) or 4.1-201 of the Code of Virginia restricts a manufacturer with a financial interest, direct or indirect, in a business of a retail licensee by not allowing the sale of its alcoholic beverages or other merchandise to such retail licensee.  The VCBG has participated in a working group that will introduce legislation directing ABC to evaluate a "de minimus" ownership or retail sale restriction rather than a complete prohibition of alcohol sale.  The legislation will also include a reevaluation of the restrictions on shared employees between alcohol tiers.

The VCBG, Virginia Distillers Association, Virginia Wineries Association and Virginia Cider 
collaborated on the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (S. 362/H.R. 1175).  Keeping the reduced Federal excise tax reduction on beer is a top priority of the Brewers Association and the VCBG.

VCBG Day on the Hill & Virginia Craft Beer Caucus
8:15 am - 8:30 pm, February 3, 2020
State Library of Virginia; General Assembly Building; Southern Railway Taphouse
Richmond, VA

Mark your calendars for this year's Day on the Hill and Virginia Craft Beer Caucus.  This year the VCBG has an entirely new group of legislative leaders to meet and one of the largest ABC legislative agendas in history. Click here for more details and registration link!  
VCBG Marketing & Tourism - US Census Beer Collaboration

January - June 2020

Next year is the US Census and the VCBG is collaborating with the US Census Bureau to increase awareness.  Every citizen that is not counted costs its jurisdiction nearly $20,000 in Federal funding!  That's a lot of beer. To show our civic commitment, the VCBG has agreed to encourage members to produce a US Census Beer and promote the US Census from January - July 2020.  

Members willing to participate in the US Census Beer Collaboration, please submit your design ideas to Betty Arnold ( by January 15, 2020.  Details to follow.
VCBG Quality
February 3, 2020 - Quality Seminar, Southern Railway Taphouse, Richmond
February 3, 2020 - Brewery "All Things Yeast" Workshop @ Stone Brewing Co., Richmond
July - December 2020 - Regional Quality Workshops, Locations TBD

The VCBG Quality Committee's flagship Quality Seminar will be February 3 at the Southern Railway Taphouse, Richmond.  This year a limited number of 20 members are in for a real treat - a hands-on "All About Yeast" Workshop being hosted by Stone Brewing Company.  Click here for more details and registration link!

The VCBG Quality Committee is going to work in collaboration with regional and national craft beer partners to hold quality workshops next year. The 2020 focus will be the Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Charlottesville and Richmond regions.  Any members willing to host a regional quality workshop and share best-practices should contact Betty Arnold at  

VCBG 2020 Craft Beer Conference & Gala
10 am - 9 pm, June 1, 2020
Washington Redskins Training Camp, Richmond, VA

The 2020 Virginia Craft Beer Conference & Gala is moving to a new venue next year - the beautiful Washington Redskins Training Camp!  The Conference will expand its programming and also include a trade show next year!  The 9th annual Virginia Craft Beer Cup will be presented at the evening Gala.  Members, guests, VIP retailers, judges and the press will all celebrate together with a light dinner and enjoy the best craft beer in Virginia.  This invitation-only event is  the largest craft brewer event in the Commonwealth.  If you did not attend this year's event, experience it through our video - a craft beer revolution is brewing!  Thank you Diecast Media Group.

Mark your calendar!  More details and registration information coming soon.

Associate Member Moment
Marshall Handbury Jr.
Diecast Media Group

The Videographer vs. The Video Content Producer
Understanding the differences in approach
Yes, the catchword buzzing around the office is "video." It's on the tip of everyone's tongue and every organization wants to get involved.
Being a skeptic at my core and a video content producer by trade, I caution everyone interested in video to first understand the difference between the videographer and the video content producer.
The videographer is a technician. They are the eyes behind the camera. With a videographer you get an employee focused on... umm... focusing the camera.
A video content producer, on the other hand, is your partner in crafting a message and a film to effectively communicate. Yes, we understand the gear, but we thrive on the story. We're always looking for ways to rise above the noise surrounding the 21 st century media landscape.
Google videographer and you'll find thousands of people to show up with a camera. That, however, will get you nowhere. Want to craft a story that will resonate with your employees as well as your audience? Contact Die Cast Media Group and we'll begin the journey toward communicating in a way that will speak directly to who you should be talking to. Be effective with us.

Betty Arnold
Member Services Director

The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild is a coalition of independent, small, commercial breweries dedicated to growing the craft beer industry in the Commonwealth.