Breweries celebrate new beer law on July 1

Brad Durham pays for a tour and gets three bottles of souvenir beer at Burnt Hickory Brewery in Kennesaw just after the stroke of midnight on July1. (Holly Steel /

Credit: Holly Steel

Credit: Holly Steel

Brad Durham pays for a tour and gets three bottles of souvenir beer at Burnt Hickory Brewery in Kennesaw just after the stroke of midnight on July1. (Holly Steel /

Burnt Hickory Brewery became the first in Georgia to release bottles on site at midnight July 1.

Brad Durham of Kennesaw was first in line for the release at 3 p.m. June 30. By the time he picked up the first bottles, more than 150 had gathered outside.

Durham has been volunteering part-time at the brewery for the past three years.

"You see the whole process that way," he said. "And the group here is so laid back and so easy to work with."

Taking advantage of Georgia's new beer law, the Kennesaw brewery was open until  1:15 a.m. to release its annual bourbon barrel-aged barley wine, Killdozer, its collaboration barley wine with Savannah's Coastal Empire called March to the Sea, and about a hundred vintage bottles.

Breweries still cannot sell beer directly to consumers. But they can give it away -- up to 36 ounces for on-site consumption and up to 72 ounces (equivalent of a six-pack) for off-site consumption -- with a paid tour. Sounds simple enough, until you get into all the possible variations of take-home beer (growlers, crowlers, bottles and cans) and the different worth of various beers (high-gravity beers and sours cost more than your standard pale ale to produce).

The solution is to develop tiers of tours to give consumers a way to customize their visits and their souvenirs. Each brewery's approach is different, so check their websites for details.

Burnt Hickory reopens its doors again at 4:30 p.m. July 1, as part of its new tour hours: Tuesday-Thursday 4:30-7:30 p.m., Friday 4:30-8 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tour prices range from $5-$75 through the weekend. The base price goes up to $10 thereafter.

More July 1 events:

  • Blue Tarp, Decatur: The brewery, which normally just offers tours on Saturdays, is opening its doors July 1 (4-7 p.m.) and July 3 (3:30-7 p.m.) for "Souvenir-A-Palooza." Blue Tarp plans to offer 12 beers, including five sours that will be available for take-home only in 32-ounce crowlers. Tour prices range from $6-$32. 731 E College Ave., Decatur. 404-669-6740
  • Red Hare, Marietta: Kicks off "Freedom Weekend" at 5 p.m. July 1 with expanded hours (5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday), live music and grilled hot dogs. On July 3 there will be live music and on July 4 the Meating Street BBQ  will be on-site. Tour prices range from $10-$15. 1998 Delk Industrial Blvd. S.E., Marietta. 678-401-0600,
  • Reformation Brewery, Woodstock: Marks the day with the release of 22-ounce bottles (Reformation calls these "commons") from its lineup of ales starting at 5:30 in the brewery's Keeping Room. There will also be live music and restaurant Butcher and Bottle will serve food that incorporates Reformation beer. 500 Arnold Mill Way, Woodstock. 678-341-0828,
  • Three Taverns, Decatur: Celebrates "Georgia Craft Beer Independence Day" from 5 to 9 with new tour, tastings and take-home options and a food truck on-site. Tour prices range from $6-$13. 121 New St., Decatur. 404-600-3355,