Guest Blog Post: John Szymankiewicz of Beer Law Center "Come Together, Over Me"

"Come Together, Over Me"
I was listening to this Beatles song the other day and it struck me how it might as well be written about a politician. Turns out, at least partially, it was meant to be ( - request from Timothy Leary when he was running for governor). But the refrain keeps coming back to me - "come together, over me." Only, maybe, the "me" isn't the politician, it's the law here. As members of the craft industry, we need to come together over the law.

Our legislators make decisions that affect our lives, our businesses, and our futures every day and mostly we - as a whole - don't do anything but complain about it. Mostly after the fact. And, honestly, it's no wonder. We're all busy trying to make a living in an increasingly competitive market. But, gosh darn it, we need to make time to have our voices heard about laws that affect us. The Guild does a great job of trying to herd all the disparate voices into a chorus, but it's tough when it's just a few folks singing into the maelstrom. Wholesalers, Big Beer, all these other folks have megaphones and ginormous speaker systems to drown out our voices. It will be forever hard for our small businesses to compete with the “Big Boys” lobbying the legislators without your consistent participation. 

One of our only hopes in getting lawmakers to hear us is in our presence and making them look us in the eye and understand our struggle. When was the last time you called your legislator? Or had them to your brewery? How about this – how many times a year do you invite them to your brewery? Don’t worry, not pointing fingers here. We all know it’s hard to make time to do everything and sometimes this gets pushed off in order to make a beer delivery so you can get paid. Priorities, right?

But, now’s your chance. ONE day. The NC Craft Brewers Guild is hosting Legislative Day on 5/14. Register here! It’s ONE day. Yes, I know you’ve got a lot going on and it’s almost impossible to break away. But, it’s ONE day. If you don't do any lobbying, contacting your legislator, or any of that stuff this year… take this ONE day and make sure your voice is heard. Make your legislators understand that there’s a person and a business they need to hear from. Be at Legislative Day. It’s ONE day. Let’s make sure all our voices are heard as ONE.

See you on Tuesday –
John, Beer Law Center