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Thread: Beer battle begins at the Georgia Legislature

  1. #1

    Default Beer battle begins at the Georgia Legislature

    Craft beer lovers could raise a full pint — and take another round “to go” over the counter — under a bill filed this week at the Georgia Legislature, the start of a likely contentious debate over the state’s Prohibition Era ban on in-house sales by local breweries.

    Dubbed the “Beer Jobs Bill” by its sponsor, state Sen. Hunter Hill, R-Smyrna, Senate Bill 63 would allow consumers to buy up to 72 ounces of beer to drink “on-premise” and up to 144 ounces to take home. In layman’s terms, these are daily limits equivalent to a six-pack and a 12-pack, respectively.

    It comes as the Peach State’s craft beer scene has begun to boom, with the state’s 40 or so breweries — nearly double the number it was just a few years ago — saying they would love to make a little extra money that they could then reinvest in their business and the local economy.

    “All of our bordering states — Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida — do allow craft brewers limited direct sales to consumers,” Hill said. “We’re one of five states in the entire country that doesn’t,” a list that includes Hawaii, Mississippi, North Dakota and West Virginia.

    “Georgia’s craft brewers,” Hill added, “are at a competitive disadvantage compared to their counterparts in the Southeast and the rest of the country.”

    The state’s small but growing number of craft brewers already welcome thousands of visitors to their breweries each year for tours and small hand-drawn “samples” of their beer — given away for free after purchase of a souvenir glass.

    It’s a work-around, to a degree, that honors Georgia’s “three-tier” system to separate the beer brewer, the wholesaler or distributor who delivers the beer, and then the retail shop, restaurant or bar that sells the beer to customers.

    The system came into play as Georgia and the nation emerged from Prohibition, and it aimed to prevent monopolies by national beer manufacturers — the rules, in essence, prevented them from doing it all: making the beer, selling it and delivering it themselves to anyone who wanted.

    ...
    http://www.myajc.com/news/news/state...3828699.735628



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  3. #2

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    "He's talkin' to his gut like it's a person!!" -me
    "dumpster diving isn't professional." - angelatc


    "Each of us must choose which course of action we should take: education, conventional political action, or even peaceful civil disobedience to bring about necessary changes. But let it not be said that we did nothing." - Ron Paul

    "Paul said "the wave of the future" is a coalition of anti-authoritarian progressive Democrats and libertarian Republicans in Congress opposed to domestic surveillance, opposed to starting new wars and in favor of ending the so-called War on Drugs."

  4. #3

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    thanks Suz. the craft beer industry is now getting a lot of scrutiny from big government. in states like Florida they are trying to stifle it. the craft beer scene desperately needs legislation to help them.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect - Mark Twain

  5. #4

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    FFS

    Georgia beer bill passes state Senate

    Georgia’s craft brewers could get more beer into the hands of customers who visit their breweries under a bill passed Friday by the state Senate.

    Senate Bill 63 would allow 36 ounces of beer to be consumed “on-premise” of a brewery and up to 64 ounces of beer to be taken home. It would mandate, however, that the beer could only be purchased in a single container — a growler, say, or one 12-ounce bottle of beer.

    It would still bar direct sales, something brewers really wanted. Instead, breweries could charge for a tour and, depending on how much someone pays, the tour could include that container of beer as a free souvenir — up to the limits. Additionally, the state’s brew pubs would be able to sell a growler of beer to eat-in customers, who could then seal the bottle and take what they don’t drink home.

    The original version of the bill would have explicitly allowed direct sales, with looser limits: 72 ounces of beer to drink “on-premise” and up to 144 ounces to take home. In layman’s terms, these were daily limits equivalent to 4 1/2 pints on tap and a 12-pack to go, respectively.

    Brewers supported the original proposal but faced an uphill battle with the state’s wholesalers, who wanted no part of allowing direct sales.

    SB 63, a compromise hammered out by Senate leadership, passed on a 51-5 vote. It now heads to the state House, where supporters are hoping to negotiate something more akin to direct sales.
    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/state-r...4_politics_sfp

  6. #5

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    Watered-down beer bill wins final passage
    A bill that would allow customers to take home more beer from Georgia’s craft breweries won final passage late Thursday from the Senate.
    Senate Bill 63 had a rough journey this year at the Capitol. Originally proposed as a way for craft brewers to sell directly to consumers, the bill’s final version represented a watered-down effort that left supporters flat.

    The House also rewrote it to include the state’s distilleries — so, effectively, they added more booze to the mix.

    As now written, SB 63 would allow 36 ounces of beer to be consumed “on-premise” of a brewery and up to 72 ounces of beer — the equivalent of a six-pack — to be taken home. Patrons would also be able to take home up to 750 milliliters of liquor from a distillery.

    The bill, however, would continue to ban direct sales. Instead, SB 63 would allow breweries to charge for a tour and, depending on how much someone pays, the tour could include the beer as a free souvenir — up to the limits.

    Brew pubs would continue to be banned from sending beer home with customers, since an early provision allowing them to do so was stripped from the bill.

    The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Hunter Hill, R-Smyrna, has said the state’s nearly 40 craft breweries — nearly double the number of just a few years ago — deserved a chance to make a little extra money to reinvest in their business and the local economy. All of Georgia’s bordering states — Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee — allow craft brewers to make limited direct sales to consumers. Nationally, Georgia is one of four states that doesn’t. The others are Hawaii, Mississippi and West Virginia.

    But changing Georgia’s Prohibition Era ban on in-house sales by local breweries has proved to be a tough sell, and the effort was fought wholeheartedly by the state’s wholesalers who otherwise play a role in beer sales across the state.

    SB 63 wasn’t the only booze-related bill to struggle this year.

    House Bill 535, sponsored by Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville, would have allowed local governments where Sunday sales of alcohol are already legal to permit restaurants to sell alcohol two hours earlier on Sundays. It passed the House overwhelmingly but stalled in the Senate Rules Committee.
    http://www.myajc.com/news/news/state...3828699.735691

  7. #6

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    Tastes great. vs. Less filling.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronin Truth View Post
    Tastes great. vs. Less filling.
    or Tastes great Vs. People who like to pee alot.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect - Mark Twain

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd View Post
    or Tastes great Vs. People who like to pee alot.
    I'm a fan of the folks who periodically want to flush their kidneys and bladder.

  10. #9

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    Georgia brewers hopping mad after state changes new tour rules

    Georgia’s growing craft beer industry is foaming mad at new Department of Revenue guidelines limiting their ability to charge for tours based on the price of different beers.

    Legislation adopted this year gave craft brewers the ability to sell facility tours and give away their product — a kind of backdoor way to actually sell their beer directly to customers, something those brewers have long sought. After Gov. Nathan Deal signed the bill into the law, the state Revenue Department enacted rules governing the tours. Those regulations allowed brewers to create different tour packages at different price levels.

    And brewers did exactly that.

    But last week the department issued a “bulletin” saying while brewers can offer different levels of tours, the price differences cannot be based on the value of the beer. Industry leaders say that’s as stinky as a skunked brew.

    “Throughout this process, from the bill’s introduction in January to its enactment in July, a brewer’s right to charge variable prices for brewery tours by whatever basis they saw fit was clear and unambiguous,” said Nancy Palmer, the executive director of the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild. “It is egregious that the Department of Revenue has waited until now — after the conclusion of months of debate on this law — to quietly, and without open comment, issue a bulletin that flies in the face of the consensus understanding of the law and the known legislative intent.”

    Palmer said brewers have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to build new tasting rooms, hire employees and market their new tours.

    Many breweries were already doing exactly what the state now says is illegal — and some, including Wild Heaven Craft Beers, say they were given written approval by the department to do so. Wild Heaven has been offering tour packages that ranged from $10 to $30, with different beers available with each.

    “I shared our new tour plan based on (Senate Bill) 63 with the Department of Revenue and received written confirmation stating: ‘This is perfectly fine. Looks great,’ ” said Nick Purdy, the president of Decatur-based Wild Heaven. “Based on this email, our company spent over $17,000 on new equipment and improving our tasting room experience. We would not have done this if the recent bulletin had been in effect.”

    State Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville, wrote to the Department of Revenue in June, before the first set of regulations were finalized, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Harrell asked the department to consider a wide range of hypothetical tour scenarios involving multiple prices and a large beer selection. Harrell specifically asked Revenue officials to tell him whether his scenario would be allowed under the law.

    Harrell told the AJC that a Revenue employee told him that “‘based on our review, none of your suggested events exceed the allowed amount limits.’ They didn’t see there was any issue with the fictious tour sale.”

    Economic impact lags behind in state

    Craft beer brewing is a booming part of the U.S. alcohol industry and had a $55.7 billion impact on the national economy in 2014, according to the Brewers Association, a national trade group. Georgia has 40 craft breweries, ranking 24th in the nation. But, thanks to laws that make it illegal for breweries to sell directly to consumers, Georgia ranks 41st nationally in economic impact per capita.

    Georgia is one of the few states in the nation where it is still illegal for drinkers to buy beer at the brewery, either for on-site consumption or to take home. Every state bordering Georgia allows both.

    Those prohibitions here are protected by the state’s three-tier system of alcohol sales. Manufacturers can only sell to wholesalers or distributors, and they in turn can only sell to retailers. When SB 63 was first introduced this past legislative session, it would have ended the prohibition on direct sales to consumers, but the powerful wholesaler lobby successfully shot that down.

    Beer and liquor wholesalers have a close relationship with lawmakers. The wine and liquor lobby spent $5,500 in June hosting lawmakers at its annual convention on St. Simons Island. Wholesalers have contributed at least $587,000 to state campaigns in the past five years, and individual distributors have given hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

    State Sen. Rick Jeffares, the chairman of the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee, crafted the compromise that allowed breweries to sell tours and give consumers their product as souvenirs. Efforts to reach the Republican from McDonough on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

    The brewers believe that during the legislative process it was clear that the intent of the bill was to allow for variable tour pricing. In fact, they say, it was specifically discussed and that everyone — brewers, lawmakers, wholesalers and Revenue officials — agreed.

    As an example, brewers wanted to be allowed to sell a tour featuring Beer A for $10 but another tour featuring more expensive Beer B for $20. Instead, the Revenue Department now says tours can have different prices but must be based on something other than the market value of the beer offered. For example, if a brewery hires a live band to play after the tour, it can charge more for that package.

    ‘Too toxic and unpredictable’ regulatory environment

    The brewers believe the powerful hand of the beer wholesalers pressured the department to hamstring them just as they were getting started. A spokesman for the Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association declined to comment.

    William Gaston, a spokesman for the Department of Revenue, said: “Everything in (the bulletin) was derived either from SB 63 or previously existed in Georgia’s sales tax code. A tour permit is required by code and was added by SB 63.”

    Gaston declined to answer further questions.

    Brewers in Georgia say the new department guidelines will put a stopper in the growth of the industry here. John Pinkerton, the owner of Moon River Brewing Co. in Savannah, said Georgia’s regulatory environment for beer “is just too toxic and unpredictable for Moon River to even consider expanding our manufacturing operation here.”

    Instead, the company is building a new brewery across the river in South Carolina, where lawmakers have recently made it legal for breweries to sell to consumers.

    Palmer, the Brewers Guild’s executive director, said the whole situation makes craft brewers more convinced than ever that more changes are needed to state law.

    “This situation clearly evidences that the system under which breweries operate is broken,” Palmer said. “Georgia’s small breweries need unfettered direct sales to the public, and Georgia’s political leadership will certainly be hearing that message loud and clear.”

    ...
    http://www.myajc.com/news/news/state...4_politics_sfp
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.

  11. #10

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    Breaking: Deal reached in craft brewery battle

    Georgia’s craft beer and liquor industries have reached an agreement with the state’s wholesalers that will end a contentious battle over how these small businesses operate, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

    All sides have agreed to a regulatory solution that will avoid a fight over legislation this year. The deal, according to the Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association, means the Department of Revenue will issue new rules that will:

    Allow brewers again to sell brewery tours at variable prices based on the kind of beer offered.
    Allow special events at breweries and distilleries.
    Let brewers, distilleries and wholesalers use social media to alert the public about where to buy their products or advertise special events.
    Allow third parties to sell tour tickets.
    Let breweries and distilleries sell food on site.

    Martin Smith, spokesman for the beer wholesalers said the deal is a victory for all sides.

    “We’re thrilled about the compromise and thank our brewer partners and the (Georgia Craft Brewers) Guild for working to make this happen,” Smith said.

    Lawmakers last year passed legislation that allowed Georgians to buy a tour of a brewery and receive free beer afterward. Once the law took effect, breweries began offering different tours at different prices based on the kind and price of beer offered.

    Two months later, however, in September, the Department of Revenue issued new rules that said the tour price cannot vary based on the beer given away. The brewers were furious and argued the agency had succumbed to the wishes of the wholesalers.

    Soon, the AJC reported, Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, and Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth, urged the departmentto reverse course.

    ..
    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/state-r...-battle/nqCbG/
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.

  12. #11

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    Drinker's guide to new brewery rules

    ...

    Q: Can I buy beer or liquor at a craft brewery or distillery?
    A: NO. It’s still against the law.

    Q: But I can walk away from a brewery or distillery with some of their product?
    A: Yes. They’ll be allowed to give it to you.

    Q: Why would they do that?
    A: They can give you product after you’ve purchased a tour. They can charge you for a tour based on how much product you want to take home.

    Q: That’s screwy.
    A: That’s the compromise that was reached when the legislature passed SB 63 in 2014. Brewers wanted to be able to sell beer directly. Wholesalers opposed it. The beer-tour exchange is the workaround.

    Q: How much beer can you get?
    A: The law caps it at 72 ounces of beer. A distillery can give you one bottle at 750 ml.

    Q: What about brewpubs?
    A: The rules haven’t changed for brewpubs; however the Georgia Craft Brewery Guild says localities have begun allowing brewpubs to sell to-go beer directly to consumers without state interference.

    Q: What about on-site consumption?
    A: The new rules allow breweries to provide customers as much as 36 ounces of beer to visitors at no charge. Distilleries can provide three half-ounce samples to visitors on-site.

    Q: Do the new rules address food?
    A: They do. The rules now allow brewers to “engage a licensed food service provider” to cater food within breweries. However, the brewery itself can’t be that food provider unless the brewery is a brewpub.

    Q: What else?
    A: The new rules allow brewers to tell people on social media where they can purchase beer. Previously, the law forbade brewers from telling potential customers which retailers carry their product.

    Q: Wait – the rules disallowed brewers from telling customers where to buy their product?A: They did. That changed.

    Q: Will brewers ever be able to sell beer directly to the public?
    A: If the legislature acts, yes. Brewers are expected to try to nudge the law again next year. There are many lawmakers who agree with them.

    Q: Why is it so complicated?
    A: Georgia lawmakers are convinced the state’s “three-tier system” of alcohol distribution protects consumers. It also protects about a dozen Georgia beer wholesalers, who have powerful lobbyists at the Capitol who make generous campaign contributions to lawmakers.
    http://www.11alive.com/news/local/dr...ules/207061062
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.

  13. #12

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    It is illegal to drink beer from a bucket on the curb in St Louis .

  14. #13

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    I have no idea why .

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by oyarde View Post
    It is illegal to drink beer from a bucket on the curb in St Louis .
    It's illegal to tie a giraffe to a lamp post in Atlanta.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by oyarde View Post
    I have no idea why .
    Me, neither.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.






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