Gene Sigel owns Red Eagle Distillery in Geneva. He makes small batches of bourbon, rye whiskey and vodka
GENEVA -- Gene Sigel cannot understand why the state of Ohio is taking almost 40 percent of the money his business makes.
That money is going to back the bonds sold to create JobsOhio.
Sigel owns Red Eagle Distillery in Geneva. He makes small batches of bourbon, rye whiskey and vodka. His spirits sell for $23 a bottle.
The state keeps $8.60 off the top. It treats Sigel's business as if it were a monopoly state liquor store, but it's not.
There are 20 small distilleries in Ohio. They recently got permission to sell their product on site.
Sigel says the state is taking money as if it stocked and sold his products.
Sigel claims the arrangement is crippling his business, making it difficult to hire workers or think about expanding.
This situation could go in the category marked "unintended consequences."
The laws creating JobsOhio, with the backing of liquor sales, were enacted before small distilleries began their growth.
Sigel says he's been told by state officials that the law using old calculations is set for 25 years.
"That's not good government, that does not make sense," he said.
A proposal is before the legislature to let small distilleries keep an additional 25 percent of their sales and sell products directly to bars and restaurants.
Sigel says small distilleries are where the craft brewing industry was about 25 years ago. He thinks how the state resolves this situation will greatly impact their growth in Ohio.