Fight brewing over beer-cooler bill in Missouri Legislature

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A fight is brewing over a Missouri proposal to allow beer-makers to lease coolers to stores to keep ales frosty.

The Senate passed the measure 18-14 Thursday, a tight vote and the minimum needed to send it to the House.

Sponsor Sen. Eric Schmitt says the bill would help consumers and the beer industry because it could mean more refrigerators to store cold ales, which he says drinkers prefer.

Craft brewers say it could give an unfair advantage to larger breweries, such as St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch.

Anheuser-Busch didn’t immediately comment Thursday to The Associated Press.

Jeff Schrag, founder of the Springfield-based Mother’s Brewing Company, says craft breweries can’t afford to buy coolers to lease. He says that could give big breweries more opportunities to get store space for their products.