Denver Riggleman and his wife Christine have been learning the hard way what it means to take on special interests in the State Capital. A little background on some these issues before you listen to John Frederick’s outstanding interview.
From Jenna Portnoy, via The Washington Post,
An overhaul of Virginia’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control can’t come soon enough for Denver Riggleman, who followed his wife Christine’s hunch a few years ago that they could build a business distilling spirits in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
They named it Silverback Distillery after Denver Riggleman — a former intelligence officer with gray hair and a hot temper. Christine apprenticed out west, learning to cook liquor that is far superior to the bathtub gin that, according to family legend, her aunts made years ago.
The glasses were small — Virginia’s craft distilleries can serve at most four half-ounce tastings of their product, amounting to a series of mini-neat drinks or cocktails. There is no similar limit at wineries and breweries. And the share of sales that goes to the state ABC agency is larger than what beer and wine sellers have to pay.
Hoping to change all that, some of the state’s 40 distillers — including the Rigglemans — formed a guild and hired W. Curtis Coleburn III, a former ABC head, to lobby lawmakers and the state’s powerful alcohol interests. They so far have found little enthusiasm for making big changes to a state-run system that generated $845 million last year, for a record profit of $152 million.
Riggleman’s Restore Economic Fundamentals PAC is his answer to the myriad lobbying forces protecting Big Liquor. Listen to this interview, it’ll make your blood boil. It’s guys like Denver Riggleman with the guts to fight back against the system that really do make America great.