Beer Smash Protests Protectionism

This morning some friends and I hosted a media conference in Denver to advocate freedom in beer sales and to protest beer protectionism. Earl Allen, who spoke at the event along with Amanda Teresi and Dave Williams (and me), put together a YouTube video:

Here’s the release I sent out yesterday:

ISSUE: Allow Grocery Sales of Real Beer, End Protectionism

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Smashing Beer Bottles to protest beer protectionism and advocate liberty in beer sales

WHEN AND WHERE: West Steps, Colorado Capitol, 11:00 a.m., Friday, March 13

Ari Armstrong, publisher of
Amanda Teresi, founder of Liberty on the Rocks
Dave Williams, president of the Gadsden Society
Additional speakers pending [Earl Allen became the fourth speaker]

“Grocery stores have a right to sell regular beer to consenting adults, and beer drinkers have the right to shop at stores of their choice. By killing Bill 1192 Wednesday, the legislature maintained unjust protectionism at the cost of individual liberty, property rights, and freedom of association,” said Ari Armstrong.

Armstrong will smash beer bottles from Colorado brewers who endorsed protectionism. The event will feature appropriate measures for safety and cleanup, so no beer or glass will be left on state property.

“The protectionists are smashing our liberty, so it’s only appropriate that we smash their beer,” Armstrong said.

Brewers who opposed 1192, thereby endorsing protectionism, include the following:

Bristol Brewing Co.

Del Norte Brewing Company

Colorado Brewers Guild

I do think it’s a mistake to think that the Brewer’s Guild necessarily speaks for all its members. I don’t mean to suggest that Bristol and Del Norte are the only or primary offenders; they’re just the ones I learned about. (Bristol’s oatmeal stout is spectacular, by the way, so I was especially pained to break bottles of that.)

I support Colorado’s beer and wine industry, and I have supported the freedom of brewers to produce and sell their products. Beer and wine producers, above all other businesses, should understand the devastating power of political intervention. Their industry was legally squashed for years in this nation. So why do some brewers support using political force to squash certain business transactions now? They should know better.

Other things equal, I’d prefer to buy my beer from producers who stand up for freedom rather than trample individual rights. So if anybody knows of any Colorado brewers who opposed the protectionist measures restricting grocery beer sales (or that even took an officially neutral position), please let me know, and I’d be happy to promote those brewers and go out of my way to buy beer from them.

I support liberty, and I try to support businesses that support liberty.

7 News broadcast the event live just after 11:00 a.m. CBS4 also published a story on the event, as did 9News.

Blogger Richard Combs writes, “I agree completely with Ari that this is unjust protectionism, and that the State of Colorado should long ago have abandoned this vestige of prohibitionism… But… the idea of smashing perfectly good, drinkable bottles of beer just disturbs me deeply.”

I hear you, my friend, but what’s truly disturbing is the political smashing of our liberties.

I’m going to end my evening, of course, with a beer, and a toast to liberty.