Posted in Beer News, Brooklyn Brewing

Garrett Oliver Responds To Shelton Brothers

Yesterday, Shelton Brothers issued a response to the tax situation in New York.  Recently the state’s supreme court recently declared unconstitutional two state tax exemptions that benefited small breweries.  That means the consumer pint price could increase.  At the source of the controversy is Shelton Brothers, an importer that is based in Massachusetts.  Basically, the importer filed suit claiming that New York brewers paying lower taxes than out of state breweries was unfair.  The resulting decision has brought Shelton some headaches.  Yesterday Shelton issued a statement, basically calling out Brooklyn Brewery.  Today, Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn responded in a Beer Advocate forum:

Well, well, well. I have just been made aware of this thread. Let me just make a few points here. I am not a lawyer like Mr. Shelton, so I cannot claim to have any direct knowledge of what effects these tax law changes will have. I also have nothing to do with legislative issues or dealings with political figures – I make beer. I argued to Mr. Shelton, in a private email, that perhaps he should not be doing things that will have negative effects on small breweries.

I pointed out that I like many of the beers he imports, that I have helped promote them (as most of us have, in some way or other), and that I’ve poured them in numerous tastings. Why, I wondered – talking, as I thought I was, to him alone – would he want to do a thing like this? Even if his statements regarding tax law are correct (and I have no idea whether they are), many states have situations that in some way favor in-state brewers. Frankly, it never occurred to me to think of them as unfair. I will not go down this path and print bits and pieces of Mr. Shelton’s response; I would, however, characterize it as inflammatory. Mr. Shelton and I have had many heated arguments, often to the wee hours, all over foreign capitols; it’s a running joke at this point.

I will also say that I have not, with anyone, anywhere, discussed, mentioned, or alluded to this issue. Nor have I read any of these blogs he speaks of. Did I ask Mr. Shelton “WTF”? Yes, I certainly did. I did not expect to find my comments to him characterized in the press; I thought I was talking to Mr. Shelton. But then again, I’m an adult, and I do read the news, and I should know better – people do these things. And, the more I think of it, in this situation, that makes me the idiot here. Mr. Shelton is far smarter, and knows exactly what he’s doing.


pic via David Shankbone