Monday, March 13, 2017

Direct Sales from GA Breweries and Distilleries Gets Love in the ‘House’!

 
Senate Bill 85 is in the ‘House’ passing 147 to 14!

I guess Mondays aren’t that bad!

This is a big step for Georgia’s breweries and distilleries and get our state to, well, a state of normalcy when it comes to selling our brews and spirits like pretty much everyone else. Passing in the House of Representatives today with a vote of 147 to 14, Senate Bill 85 now goes back to the Senate for their very possible thumbs up. This Schoolhouse Rock episode featuring my man "Bill" pictured up top is a perfect reflection of what is going down with SB 85 (but on a national level), but hopefully the ending will be just as happy.
Below is the official press release coming straight from the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild. Shout outs to Senate Bill 85 author Senator Rick Jeffares (R-Locust Grove), Howard Maxwell (R-Dallas) for carrying it through the House, and Nancy Palmer, the exec and big cheese for of GCBG!


Bill to Allow Limited Direct Sales from Breweries and Distilleries Passes Vote in House of Representatives

The 2017 Georgia House of Representatives voted today in favor of legislation to allow consumers to purchase beer or spirits directly at the brewery or distillery where they are made. Senate Bill 85, authored by Senator Rick Jeffares (R-Locust Grove) and carried in the House by Representative Howard Maxwell (R-Dallas), passed with vote of 147 to 14. 
“This legislation is a victory for small businesses across our state from Blue Ridge to the Golden Isles,” said Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). “I appreciate all of the stakeholders coming together and working out a solution that empowers our craft brewers and distillers to create more jobs. As Georgia’s economy continues to grow and new industries and entities enter the marketplace, this legislation will serve as an example of how to move forward in a positive and mutually-beneficial way.”    
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, Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, House Regulated Industries Committee Chairman Howard Maxwell, and Senator Rick Jeffares have provided guidance to create this legislation. Their commitment to supporting the small businesses of Georgia shines through in SB85,” said Nancy Palmer, Executive Director of the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild.  
In the House Regulated Industries Committee under the guidance of Chairman Howard Maxwell, Representative Ron Stephens, and Representative Alan Powell, SB85 was modified to represent the terms of a compromise reached by the Georgia Distillers Association and the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of Georgia. With the new language added, visitors to breweries and distilleries will be able to sample products by the glass, take up to three 750 ml bottles of spirits or one case of beer to go, and purchase food without the current tour and tasting requirements. Both distilleries and breweries will be subject to an annual sales cap of 500 and 3000 barrels respectively. Furthermore, the bill slightly modifies the brewpub license to reinforce local control on issues of to-go sales from brewpubs. 
According to Palmer the Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association and the Georgia Municipal Association are also due credit, “The wholesalers of Georgia and our allies in cities across this state have been crucial in this process.” 
Having found common ground with his counterparts in the industry, Chris Sywassink of Ghost Coast Distillery and the Georgia Distillers Association added, “We’re grateful to our wholesale and retail partners for the time they have spent working with us in a spirit of cooperation for the last year. And we’re fortunate that leadership within the Georgia legislature has created an environment that encouraged compromise and communication.  The GDA is especially indebted to Speaker David Ralston, Chairman Howard Maxwell and Chairman Ron Stephens for their time, energy, encouragement and tireless efforts over the past 2 years.” 

Having been amended in the House of Representatives, SB85 will now head back to the Senate for consideration. 

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