On March 4th, voting 23-13, the Kentucky Senate passed House Bill 168, which will prevent beer brewers from owning alcohol distributorships in the Commonwealth. Both chambers of the General Assembly agreed that HB 168 would close a loophole that had allowed mega-brewer, Anheuser-Busch, to obtain two major distribution businesses in the State. And after the Senate’s vote, Anheuser-Busch will now likely have to sell both of its distribution businesses in Louisville and Owensboro.
With that being said, the fight surrounding HB 168 is not necessarily over. First, the Bill will have to be signed into law by Governor Steve Beshear. But even if that happens, there is already talk of mounting litigation. Indeed, HB 168 directly confronts the constitutional balance between the 14th Amendment, with regard to the potential “taking” of private property by the government, and the 21st Amendment, with regard to the states’ right to regulate alcohol. It will be interesting to see where this continued fight leads.
If you’re interested in reading it, here is a link to the language of HB 168:
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