On Living Free

The state legislature is back in session, hearing and reviewing the full gambit of newly proposed bills. A number of them relate to the beer/alcohol industry here in NH; most of which we disagree with on principle. Rather than share our perspective case by case or line by line, I believe I can sum it up with one key American ideal: freedom (or lack thereof).

I’ll begin with another local hero. General John Stark famously authored the toast, “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” He saw great potential in the citizens of this new nation, but also saw potential danger in hindering those individuals: placing limits on them would carve the path back to the oppression he sought to defeat in the Revolution.

This is why NH boasts his toast as our state motto. It serves as a reminder of where we came from.

It was just a couple years ago that Governor Hassan approved the elevation of I-93’s speed limit, despite expressing safety concerns. She simply believed in bringing the laws in line with what the people wanted, citing the “common sense that Granite Staters are known for.”

With freedom comes individual responsibility. Constitutionally, laws are intended to deal only with those who abuse that responsibility, not prescribe point by point how each individual should interact and live. Although many try every year, we can’t simply write responsibility and common sense into existence.

I believe in free markets. It is through this free exchange that we explore and discover newer, better products and services. As an entrepreneur, I know every business is challenged to compete, and the way in which they do so is taking risks on bold ideas; developing new methods and concepts to catch the eye of demanding consumers. When the risk taken is too large, or the new idea fails to capture the attention and awe of the people, businesses are then forced to either drop the venture in search of another new idea, or face the consequence of declining sales and potential failure.

My point is that we vote best for what we believe in through our dollars, not our politicians. Enough people turned off NBC News to remove Brian Williams, with no law on the books outlawing exaggerated journalism. Each time you grant your money in exchange for anothers work, you are showing your support for their efforts and making a statement that they add value to the community. When enough people choose to do business with them, they grow into a successful company that others will either attempt to emulate by replicating their model, or disrupt by building on it with a newer, bolder model. The cycle repeats, the economy grows, and we the people are the ones who reap the benefits.

This is why I believe in allowing the people to define and shape the market, rather than having it to be shaped by a piece of paper authored by special interests & politicians collaborating with other special interests & politicians. If your business’ model and products are as profound and perfect as you believe, then they would flourish in a free market. Instead, when you spend weeks catering to politicians and lobbies to specifically outlaw ideas and methods that differ from yours, you are choking individual freedom before it has the chance to breathe.

Don’t be afraid of progress. Change is inevitable. Accept both as a challenge; a means to keep exploring. Yes, this means hard work...but I would rather work hard to live life my way than settle for what others think is best, or force others to adhere to what I think is best. Live free, or die.

As such, we will be sitting out this political season. While many of the new bills may have the right intentions, they include far too many caveats, limits and restrictions; some were written by specific interests, some by those who know nothing about our work, most are unrealistic/unenforceable, and the remainder are downright ridiculous. I’m just glad the conversations around bars in breweries, removing limits on growling filling, and others. are actually beginning. Instead, we will dedicate our time and energy to our passion: great times with great people over great beer.

With freedom comes responsibility, and I believe that we “Live Free or Die” citizens have the ability and common sense to handle it. Cheers.

-Carl
Co-Owner | Engineer | Brewer