Georgia Craft Brewers and Beer Wholesalers agree on direct sales at breweries

Olivia Morales, head of marketing, pours a beer for a visitor to the Abbey of the Holy Goats brewery in Roswell. Photo by Bita Honarvar/Special

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Olivia Morales, head of marketing, pours a beer for a visitor to the Abbey of the Holy Goats brewery in Roswell. Photo by Bita Honarvar/Special

The 2017 General Assembly of Georgia will consider legislation to allow consumers to purchase beer directly at the brewery that makes it, according to announcement today from the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild.

The deal, which had been long rumored to be on tap for the 2017 legislative session, is great news for Georgia breweries and beer lovers, and is sure to be a boon to new breweries in the state.

More details from the announcement:

Senator Rick Jeffares (R – McDonough), chairman of the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee , introduced Senate Bill 85, which will allow breweries to sell up to 3,000 barrels of the beer they manufacture to consumers visiting the brewery. If passed, consumers will be able to enjoy fresh beer by the glass, take up to one case to go, and purchase food without the tour package that is currently required. Furthermore, the bill slightly modifies the brewpub license to reinforce local control on issues of to-go sales from brewpubs.

Throughout the summer and fall of 2016 business leaders from craft breweries and their wholesale partners met to discuss common sense updates to benefit the beer industry in Georgia. “With suggestions championed by both brewers and wholesalers, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), House Regulated Industries Committee Chairman Howard Maxwell (R- Dallas), and Senator Jeffares have provided guidance to create this legislation.

"Their commitment to supporting the small businesses of Georgia shines through in SB 85,” said Nancy Palmer, Executive Director of the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild. According to Palmer the Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association is also due credit, “The business leaders of the GBWA have been crucial in this process.”

“I applaud the industries for coming together and agreeing to an innovative solution,” commented Lt. Governor Cagle. “The shared interest of supporting our emerging small business and creating more opportunities for Georgians is clearly reflected in this legislation.”

According to the most recent data from the Brewers Association, Georgia ranks 48th in breweries per capita, 41st in economic impact per capita, and 17th in overall craft beer production. In 2016 Georgia added 11 new breweries and brewpubs continuing a consistent trend of growth.

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