Changing the Legal Definition of Beer

Business Strategy

In New Hampshire, a narrow legal definition of beer limited brewery activity from production to storage, thus impacting sales. On behalf of Redhook Brewery, LANE executed an educational campaign to prompt swift legislative action that would broaden the definition of beer to include nontraditional ingredients critical to craft brewers.

LANE launched the public affairs and PR campaign at a casual gathering of legislators in January 2012. Capitalizing on a captive audience at the craft brewer’s local pub, LANE highlighted opportunities lost due to outmoded language, not just for Redhook, but for all brewers and the state. LANE developed a brewery tour, presentation and key messages that served as a foundation for all lobbying initiatives. LANE also trained company spokespeople and invited other key stakeholders to take up the cause. One-on-one, in-person meetings and selective media relations further raised awareness, while developing strategic alliances within the legislature ensured Redhook was well positioned to testify at hearings.


Although launched late in the legislative cycle, LANE’s public affairs and PR campaign culminated in positive change within the session. Within six months, an updated definition of beer was tagged onto another bill destined for broad approval. Effective immediately, Redhook could brew, store and sell its full portfolio of craft beers in New Hampshire. The bill expanded the company’s business and growth opportunities within the region and they emerged as a champion for brewers in New Hampshire.  The campaign earned LANE the 2013 PRWeek Award for Public Affairs Campaign of the Year.

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