Lawmakers Seek Study On WV Craft Beer Industry

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A legislative committee has requested a study on whether West Virginia's small craft beer industry is unfairly burdened by regulations meant to govern large beer distributors.

Blackwater Brewing Co. owner and brewer Lincoln Wilkins in Davis says brewers can face thousands of dollars in licensing fees in order to produce and sell craft beers. He says every step aimed at expansion is met with more fees and licensing requirements.

After the Legislature made changes over beer distribution last year, Taylor County Sen. Bob Williams says he became aware of issues for craft brewers. Williams co-chairs the Legislature's Joint Commission on Economic Development, which has requested a study of the craft beer industry.

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports seven craft breweries are registered with the state Department of Commerce.