New law stops Alabama alcohol regulators from playing ‘big brother’

mug of beer, alcohol

At the end of the legislative session, without fanfare or a press release, Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill that will protect the personal information of Alabama consumers for years to come.

SB234, sponsored by Madison-Repubican Sen. Bill Holtzclaw rolls back an Orwellian rule adopted by the  Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABC Board) last September requiring local breweries to record the names and addresses of buyers purchasing beer for off-premise consumption.

“I appreciate Governor Ivey signing this bill into law. We need to protect the privacy of consumers in Alabama, and there is no reason in this instance for state government bureaucrats to step between a private citizen and the company he or she is doing business with,” Holtzclaw remarked.

The regulations first came into effect following Holtzclaw successfully co-sponsoring legislation that took effect last summer allowing the state’s craft breweries to sell six packs, growlers, and large bottles of beer directly to consumers. In response, the ABC Board proposed the rule to collect the name, address, age, phone number, and date of birth from anyone who purchases beer at a brewery for off-premise consumption.

While the initial proposed regulations were ultimately amended to collect only the names and addresses of buyers, Holtzclaw introduced SB234 to correct what he calls ABC’s “regulatory misstep.”

“We have at least nineteen craft beer companies in the state now, and more are coming online soon. Each year, tens of thousands of Alabamians responsibly enjoy some of the best craft beer in America, brewed in places like Huntsville and Madison,” Holtzclaw continued. “Going forward, those customers can enjoy great beer from microbreweries across Alabama, without having to fork over personal information to fulfill a burdensome government regulation.”

For tax purposes, existing law requires breweries to collect information from restaurant owners and gas station proprietors, who purchase from breweries in a manufacturing capacity. SB234 specifies that the business owners shall be deemed the wholesale and retail purchaser, and consumers purchases will now be considered traditional sales that don’t need to be reported.


  1. Isn’t this special? The legislature could have done the same thing by acting as the “legislative council” and refusing the ABC Board’s new regulations. The council has only 20 members as I recall so this would have been easier to pass. Further, the legislature then would have had more time to tackle the big issues before them.

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