The state of Arizona said no early last year when Shannon Zouzoulas and Megan Haller wanted to apply for a license to brew beer at their fledgling Arizona Hops and Vines winery.
A few months later, with the help of a savvy Phoenix lobbyist working pro bono, the sisters successfully got the law changed, opening the door for a brewery they plan to set up sometime next spring. If all goes as planned, they will introduce their maiden craft brew just in time for their annual Oktoberfest next fall.
“A lot of people said there was no way to open Title 4 (the Arizona laws governing alcohol) because lawmakers are so touchy and they just won’t do it,” Haller said of the victory, one of many the sisters have scored since they stopped daydreaming about opening their own winery and actually did it in 2012. “Everyone was shocked, including our own industry, that we were able to turn that over in almost three months.”
Chalk it up as one of the biggest victories in a journey that has cost them marriages, drawn criticism from the competition and made them determined to become one of the state’s most respected wineries.