Lawmakers to recommend new measures on distribution, sale of alcoholic beverages

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The Alabama Alcohol Beverage Study Commission met Tuesday to approve three recommended measures that will be forwarded to the Alabama House and Senate for discussion.

The commission was established to examine Alabama’s laws on the “manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol beverages” and to study whether or not those laws were “competitive and consistent” with related laws across the country, according to a news release.

The following three measures, which address different types of alcohol, were approved by the commission:

1.) Beer

  • Licensed brewers and brew pubs producing less than 60,000 barrels of beer annually will be allowed to directly sell up to 228 ounces, comparable to a case of beer, per consumer each day for off-premise consumption. The law would apply to both draft and package beer.
  • Brewers and brew pubs would be permitted to deliver two kegs of beer for donation to charitable or nonprofit events.
  • The requirement that brew pubs be stationed in historic areas would be abolished.

2.)Wine

  • Alabama wineries would be allowed to establish one ABC-approved, off-site location to sell their product.

3.)Spirits

  • Spirit manufacturers would be allowed to sell up to 750 ml, the equivalent of a “fifth,” per consumer annually for off-premise consumption.

Rep. Alan Harper (R-Northport) and Sen. Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville) co-chair the commission and noted that input from the public was used in deciding which recommendations should be presented to the legislature.

“We received a tremendous amount of feedback from citizens, industry leaders, and businesses across the state during our public hearings, and we believe these recommendations are the best first step towards improving our alcoholic beverage laws in Alabama,” Harper was quoted as saying in the news release. “We are grateful to everyone who participated in the process.”

Further, brewers and industry groups are also celebrating the work of the commission, whose recommendations must still be taken up by the Legislature.

Bob Parker, owner of Montgomery’s only brew pub, Railyard Brewing Co., was thrilled with the possibilities.

“This gets my beer into your house,” Parker said. “That’s a big deal for me.”

Parker noted that the revenue that such a move would generate pales in comparison to the “experience” of being able to go down to your local pub and buy a “growler.”

The Alabama Brewers Guild and the Alabama Beer Wholesalers Association are also celebrating the news, noting that such moves will put Alabama on an even keel to compete with surrounding states in the “burgeoning industry of craft beer.”

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