‘Beer jobs’ passes House, returns to Senate

Legislation that would let drinkers take beer or distilled spirits home from breweries and distilleries took another step closer to final passage on Friday.

The Georgia House voted 142-9 to approve Senate Bill 63. It allows patrons to pay for a tour of the facility and in exchange take home up to a six-pack of beer from a brewery or up to 750 milliliters of liquor from a distillery.

The bill now goes back to the Senate, because the House made extensive changes. One major difference is the House stripped out Senate language that granted brewpubs the ability to sell its products for off-site consumption.

Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, who sponsored the bill in the House, said lawmakers needed to work hard to protect the three-tier system of alcohol sales in Georgia, where manufacturers, distributors and retailers are separate and distinct.

“This is a very innovative way to bring people together and get the product to market,” Stephens said. “Tourists, especially in Savannah, like to go to these places. I just would ask that you support the beer.”