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GA breweries and the laws that keep them down

Discussion in 'US - South-Atlantic' started by bctdi, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. Any idea if this would include brewpubs? It'd be great to be able to get growlers or if brewpubs could do limited bottle releases.
  2. compton

    compton Aficionado (165) Georgia May 20, 2009

    I have no idea since, in the law world, brewpubs are a bit of anomaly. The optimistic side of me thinks it would since recent law changes have favored brewpub distribution. Growlers and bottles hopefully!

    However, again, this could all be hearsay. I haven't talked to anyone to know if this is concrete or not.
  3. I hope so as well. Lawmakers need to see that onsite sales and a tasting room allow for a much smaller brewery to open due to a higher profit margin. It would also blur the lines between brewpub and brewery making expansion easier for both. More breweries and expansion = more tax revenue!
  4. The Georgia Craft Brewers Guild is new on Twitter follow them @GaBrewersGuild

  5. compton

    compton Aficionado (165) Georgia May 20, 2009

    an update: hopefully this proposal gets assigned a bill number in the next week or two and then it'll be on to voting. obviously we'll have to spread the word once things get official and tell our representatives how we feel about this!
  6. compton

    compton Aficionado (165) Georgia May 20, 2009

  7. Kmccabe33 likes this.
  8. compton

    compton Aficionado (165) Georgia May 20, 2009

    it also allows on-premise sales for a brewery; up to 288oz per person per day. huge step for GA brewers
    bradcochran1234 likes this.
  9. Yesac

    Yesac Savant (310) Georgia Dec 28, 2007

  10. Bad News.

    Crawford brewer at 5 Seasons West & North sent this out today.

    "Tough day under the dome yesterday. Looks like the wholesalers and ABImbev and SABMiller/Coors want to really screw us over and not allow our local, small brewers to be able to sell growlers. I would hope that there might be a few of the smaller distributors out there that might support this effort. I know there are a few of y’all out there on this list. I’d love to hear your opinion on the bill and to ask if there is anyway you would support it. "

    This is a big setback but I'd hate to think the fight is over. No one at the dome had heard any support from the voters for this bill until a couple of days ago. Our voice can be bigger than the big guys fighting against what is best for GA's brewers.
  11. What can we do, specifically? I think the majority of us have no idea what can help. Emails? If so, to whom? Signed petitions? I don't know how to show my support, and I doubt I'm the only one.
  12. You're not the only one. All I did was post the link to other social medias. Who knows who we should talk to? And is this bill completely dead or just on the back burner?
    The only people I know to talk to would be the GADA but they work for the distribution centers and retailers so they're not voting yes on this.

  13. jriggins6

    jriggins6 Savant (340) Colorado May 18, 2011

  14. The HB 314 bill was brought before a house committee today but tabled until next session.

    It was much more positive of a reaction then I expected and than the last time I was at the dome for the Sunday Sales vote. The biggest nay sayer was Carl Von Epp's his issues being the combination on-and-off-premise licenses ie convenience stores and the effect to the 3-tier System. As it turns out his 1st, 3rd and 4th biggest contributors are distributors.
    afksports likes this.
  15. NNatic

    NNatic Zealot (80) Georgia Apr 8, 2007

    Does this mean that this bill is likely going to sit until next year or would this come back up before then? Any more information about this bill and its status?

    It is such a shame we are limited by laws like these :(
  16. kp

    kp Aficionado (190) Georgia Jun 5, 2002

    The bill does not sit over the summer. That's actually the time to raise awareness and let your voice be heard. A lot of the behind the scenes politicking happens before the next session starts. Hopefully the legislature is educated before it convenes and therefore ready to vote according to the wishes of the people.

    Now if we could just get some volunteers organized to get a grass-roots effort going. Any writers or organizers out there?
  17. JH61

    JH61 Aspirant (25) Georgia Mar 12, 2013

    I just read this thread. I would be willing to participate in the efforts to update these laws. I agree with what has been said here multiple times:
    1. on-site sales
    2. self distribution
    Both are why there are so few breweries in the 9th most populous state in the USA. The good ol boy politics still run the state and pockets get padded every day. Sure the distributors have a lot of input in the laws here. But all 49 other states have distributors that distribute the BMC brands and I believe something like 34 of those states allow self distribution. Those include our neighbors TN and NC. At least we now have a governor who is open to these things. If Sonny were still under the dome, we would not even have Sunday sales.

    I have a second home in the mountains and frequently visit one of the wineries where I can have food and a bottle of wine on site. I can also buy an entire case to take home with me. I've done it many times. Brewers need this in order to make a go of it.

    I don't see how selling a few beers per customer on premises hurts a big distributor. The big distributors don't want to be bothered by the small brewers anyway. Basically, all they sell are the so called "crafty" beers made by BMC. As someone else already noted, once a brewer reaches a point he/she will go to a distributor anyway. Self distribution is just a way of fostering start-up business which this state needs badly.
    afksports likes this.
  18. afksports

    afksports Savant (400) New York Aug 22, 2010

    Reading up on this thread because I'm probably moving to Atlanta this summer.

    NY State has self-distribution for brewers under a certain barrelage and within their first 5 years of growth. They still have to sign up with a distributor, and that distributor works with them, but in addition they are permitted to self-distribute. In practice, most of the kegs and six pack stuff goes through the distributor, but if a loyal restaurant needs a keg replaced and the distributor isn't paying attention, the brewers can drive one over. If there's a special event at a bar, the brewers can drive in a sixtel. Stuff like that helps quite a bit.

    Plus there's always the story of Sean Lawson getting national accliam in Vermont with beers driven around in the back of his Volvo.

    As for on-premise, I think this absolutely is still the #1 priority. Glad to see there's a bill with a number on it, and a lot of momentum behind it on this board. Hopefully the larger distributors realize that small craft products represent their growth area right now.
  19. JH61

    JH61 Aspirant (25) Georgia Mar 12, 2013

    Best of luck to you and your move to ATL as long as you're not a Yankee fan ;) Most people who move here wind up staying for a long time. Relatively low cost of living and pretty decent climate don't hurt.
  20. rayhughes

    rayhughes Initiate (15) Mar 31, 2013

    went to a brewery tour in atl yesterday for the first time in many years. what a joke. 1 hour wait in line, then 1 hour of boozin that was also a big pile of lines. that's gotta change. and no food there? redic. HB 314 sounds like a great move, I'm all for freeing things up for the breweries/brewpubs, but after it, we've gotta get the laws relaxed for kicking it at breweries. tom taylor is a pimp for sponsoring HB 314, I hope he keeps it going. i just emailed my state house and senate reps to get behind the cause. fight the power!
  21. rayhughes

    rayhughes Initiate (15) Mar 31, 2013

    ok, i just looked up this carl von epps character. he got 2k from Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association, 1k from Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Georgia, and 1k from Millercoors. thats 4k to be the biggest opponent to hb 314, what a joke. we need to put some bucks in tom taylor's pocket.
  22. bctdi

    bctdi Aficionado (190) Georgia Dec 8, 2008

    Carl von epps is also a preacher at smith church in newnan, so I am not real shocked he is against this.... Just look at how the sunday sales vote went down.... We had a handful of religious control freaks squashing that vote for years and years until someone finally was able to pull back the curtain and that referendum passed by a landslide! We just have to keep writing our representatives. Until this gets done. That's what I plan on doing and have been doing. Any help we can get from larger organizations would be great, but as individuals , the best we can do is let our reps know we want this in no uncertain terms.
  23. bctdi

    bctdi Aficionado (190) Georgia Dec 8, 2008

    You went to a brewery tour yesterday? You should have come to HMOG at the Brick Store. All the money raised at hmog goes into fighting bs beer laws in GA like the one that's keeping breweries from setting up shop here in GA. Try to come next year. It's a great time and for a worthy cause. The brewery tours here remind me of a few frat parties i've been to when I was younger.... Big crowds, and lines for everything including the bathroom.... Not doing that anymore.. It's just not worth all that trouble.
  24. compton

    compton Aficionado (165) Georgia May 20, 2009

    the tour setup right now is a bummer in georgia. Overall, it kind of takes away from the connection to the brewery that you experience in other states. Hopefully this changes soon and we keep working towards a better beer environment with awesome events like HMOG. I also believe with more breweries opening up in the state, the tour scene will change at some of the newer guys. Keep spreading the good word and remember we have to get the non-craft nerds on board to make this change really happen. Data supporting small businesses, new jobs, and overall economic impact are gonna be important for us to get into the masses and need to be the focal point of discussion and studies.
  25. kp

    kp Aficionado (190) Georgia Jun 5, 2002

    what data can you find?
  26. compton

    compton Aficionado (165) Georgia May 20, 2009

    Right now it's pretty tough, kp. There's information out there from the beer institute but unfortunately GA's information is skewed by the Bud and Miller plants. I'm not sure how you go about this, but an independent study on craft beer's economic impact in GA would seem very helpful. Many other states have this sort of information on their brewer's guild website. check out oregon's. Also, if we had information on Georgia's wine industry and their growth in recent years (i believe the wine laws became more lax in recent years to help support the small business growth) those numbers would favor the small business argument and how the economic climate could be improved to support our small breweries. If anyone has advice on places to find this information or a good approach for this, I believe these are the kind of arguments and evidence we need to really turn heads at the capitol.
  27. kp

    kp Aficionado (190) Georgia Jun 5, 2002

    From Twitter:
    GWCB is having a General Info meeting @SquarePub on May 4th at 11:30pm. Plz get the word out & plan to join us & bring friends.
  28. compton

    compton Aficionado (165) Georgia May 20, 2009

  29. kp

    kp Aficionado (190) Georgia Jun 5, 2002

    It should have said am, although pm would be easier.
  30. Is there anyone planning on attending this meeting on Saturday (11:30am)? If not it may be cancelled due to lake of attendance.
  31. phunkydrummer

    phunkydrummer Zealot (90) Georgia Jul 7, 2009

    As far as tastings at growler stores, some of those are allowed. As of now, that is a city by city ordinance. Smyrna Beer Market does flights of samples for $6/7 for five.
  32. GatorBeerNerd

    GatorBeerNerd Savant (405) Georgia Sep 15, 2007

    They may be allowed by city ordinances around the metro area, but they are illegal per state law. The likelihood someone would come in and bust a store for selling them is probably somewhere very close to 0. However, it is not legal regardless of city ordinance.
  33. GABrew

    GABrew Savant (490) Georgia May 5, 2013

    I just saw this thread for the first time today. Here are responses I received from my reps back in May.

    House Bill 314:
    HB 314 is still being held in the Regulated Industries Committee.It has not been voted on yet. The bill is still being tweaked but I think it has a chance of passing.

    Senate Bill 174:
    The legislative session has ended and this bill had been read and placed in the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. It would have to be heard in committee and sent to the full Senate to be voted upon next session in January 2014. Senator Jack Murphy is the Chairman of this committee.
  34. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (370) North Carolina Apr 26, 2012

    What is the current abv cap in Georgia? I know that here in N.C. a set of "big" distributors opposed raising the abv level a few years back. The entrenched lobby of these good old boys is a throw back to politics of another era, except that it's still happening. With traditional BMC products flat and falling in sales, I've seen these large distributors clamboring for genuine craft products, but they often fail to develop the brands once in their portfolio. Sometimes I think that they buy brands and don't mind killing them.
  35. GatorBeerNerd

    GatorBeerNerd Savant (405) Georgia Sep 15, 2007

    14%, while I wish there was no limit, it does not rule out many beers with it at that level
  36. Hi everybody. New to this forum but have been reading periodically over the years. I am very interested in getting involved in this effort here in GA. I reside in Atlanta now but I lived for years in CO and spend alot of time in MI and NC and been close to beer industry and I have seen first hand the overwhelming positive impacts on the community that brewing, breweries, and brewpubs have. Many positives including job creation, tax dollars, etc. but also the sense of community and gathering - something that seems to be lacking in many of the typical bar establishments. Another angle is the whole agri-tourism, if you drive throughout the state they seem to be promoting agri-tourism whether it be local wineries, berry farms, etc. I don't know if hops could grow on a large scale in the surrounding Atlanta area but perhaps north georgia, or grains? But certainly honey, berries, other fruit, etc. They are sourcing local ingredients in western NC breweries so maybe its possible.Locally grown ingredients will make it into micro-brewed products which supports local farms, etc. Just another angle i hadnt seen mentioned. If anyone has current info on how to get folks involved I'd love to help. Thanks!
  37. mrk829

    mrk829 Aficionado (245) Georgia Aug 1, 2008

    I just moved to North ATP after living in MN and WI in the last 3 years. I have also lived in VA and MO before that. Although I am no lawyer, I am a beer enthusiast/advocate and have also started home brewing. I am also getting a phd in marketing and would be willing to help in any way possible with this effort.
  38. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (370) North Carolina Apr 26, 2012

    Back when Pop the Cap was happening here, I had a great conversation with an extremely hard core anti alcohol anything North Carolina house member. I spoke straight business with him, about much larger revenues, more hiring, and what would really drive NEW business. He dropped his personna of holier than thou and said that, "I hadn't really thought of that". I believe that I swayed him and I honestly believe any legislative initiative related to alcohol in this part of the world has to be presented in terms of dollars.
  39. weaverr

    weaverr Aficionado (130) Georgia Jun 10, 2008

    Just moved to Macon from Indianapolis. I'm still trying to decipher the new set of antiquated beer laws that I'm going to have to get used to. This is what I've figured out so far.

    • Breweries cannot sell beer / food on-premises, but they can have tasting rooms / tours (or whatever you call what Sweetwater is doing).
    • Brewpubs cannot sell beer to-go (e.g. growlers)
    • All distribution happens through the three tier system
    • Beer can be sold cold in grocery stores / gas stations (county law?)
    • Beer can be sold on Sundays (county law?)
    • ABV limit of 14% on beer
    • Growlers can only be sold at liquor stores (or are they specifically growler fill stations)

    What other bizarre nonsense is going on? On the bright side, I'm glad I can buy cold beer from the grocery store on Sunday and that happy hour specials exist.
  40. GatorBeerNerd

    GatorBeerNerd Savant (405) Georgia Sep 15, 2007

    Pretty close....
    1) They could sell food if they have a food license and wanted to deal with that from what I understand (wish breweries would do like Flat 12 with the hot dog cart or food truck) but since you can't hang out and drink all day they probably think it is not worth the effort. They can not sell beer. They can sell you a glass along with a tour and then give you "free" samples of beer in exchange for the magical tickets or tokens that appeared with the glass you bought during the tour. ;)

    2) Correct. No such thing as a combined on and off-premise license at this point for production brewing locations. No sales of bottles, growlers, or kegs or any other container of beer to go from any production brewing location (brewpubs or breweries). Recent changes do allow brewpubs to sell larger amounts of their beer through distribution for off-premise consumption.
    3) Yep
    4) Yep, no limitations on county as far as I know for that one
    5) Yes, but not as simple as per county. Some counties it was all the county. Other places it was voted on by city. Regardless, damn near everywhere in metro Atlanta Sunday Sales was approved.
    6) Yep
    7) With your wording, No. If a store sells liquor, it can not sell growlers. It can only sell beer and wine to sell growlers. So a grocery store (which can not sell liquor here) could add growler taps if they want. I think the only example of this right now is Whole Foods stores. Mostly it is bottle shops or the insanely high number of growler shops opening in seemingly every strip mall all over the city.

    I hate to bring bad news, but happy hours do not exist here. At least they do not exist legally. Some places get around this by having a house drink that is always cheaper. Any sort of limited time special on alcohol is against the law. I am sure places still do it but you might not want to mention who does since people that work at a Beer Growler or Moondog Growler location might see it and report them for not following the law (pm me if you want the story on that bit of snark).

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