Sure we can’t buy beer over 12% but many Ohioans don’t realize how good we have it. Let’s take a few minutes to realize that other states are struggling with worse beer laws than what we have. Hopefully at the end of this some of you will be motivated to help Georgia craft beer enthusiasts have an easier time enjoying craft beer!
To get more info on the current laws in Georgia and where they need changed I talked to Jonathan Baker, marketing guy and master of mind control[footnote]That is seriously his title on their website![/footnote], from Atlanta’s Monday Night Brewing [footnote]If you don’t know Monday Night you need to rectify that. Drafty Kilt is one of the best Scotch Ales I’ve ever had and the bourbon barrel version won Gold at this year’s GABF[/footnote].
Currently in Georgia breweries can provide tours which must be free, but are allowed to sell a souvenir glass and allowed to give away up to 32 oz. per person per day with said glass. Which I think is actually pretty awesome as I enjoy collecting brewery glassware.
$10 for a glass, a tour, and 6 tasters is a better deal than you’ll get anywhere in Cincinnati. Sadly that’s where the awesomeness of Georgia’s laws ends. Want more than 6 6 oz. tastes? Come back tomorrow and buy another glass.
The core of the problem is that Georgia is one of only five states[footnote]Hawaii, North Dakota, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Georgia[/footnote] left where breweries can’t sell beer directly to a customer. This means you can’t walk up and buy a pint to drink there or buy a 6-pack to take home. The goal of the new law, according to Mr. Baker, would be for the sale of beer for on premise consumption as well as packaged products (6-packs, bombers, etc…), and growler fills. The size of the growler fills is still in flux but he stressed that they’re not asking to be able to sell kegs directly.
While researching this article I stumbled across the Brewers Association position statement on direct to consumer sales:
For Small Packaging Breweries
The ability to sell beer directly to qualified consumers from a packaging/bottling brewery’s premise would enhance customer loyalty and help increase sales within the three tier distribution system. Such right is not intended to bypass the three tier distribution.
What needs to be done most is to for Georgia residents to call their State representatives and let them know how important this issue is to them. But if you, like me, don’t actually live in Georgia then you can donate to the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild,
they’ve even got an IndieGoGo campaign to contribute to. (This campaign is over, sorry)
Opponents of this bill say it will erode the 3-tier system. That’s totally true but the goal is cutting a hole in a wall and opening a takeout window, not breaking down that wall. The intention of the 3-tier system is to stop vertical integration and keep a brewery from owning a distributor and a bar. That separation will remain solidly intact. I am willing to concede the possibility that Kroger could lose some sales. However, I think it’s more likely that someone will take a tour of Red Brick Brewery, buy a 6-pack, fall in love, and start buying that 6-pack with their milk and eggs every week at Kroger.
For more information on the whole thing check out the following links: