February 1, 2017

Legislators Propose Changing Georgia's Archaic Beer Laws

City Dope

Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

Terrapin's tap room looks like a bar, but it's not, but it might become one.

Rather than go through the charade of paying for a brewery tour to throw back a few Terrapins or Tropicalias, a new bill would—imagine this!—let you just buy the damn beer.

Senate Bill 85, introduced last week by state Sen. Rick Jasperse (R-McDonough), would let consumers buy beer to drink on-site, as in a bar, and a up to a case a day to take home.

Under current law, breweries cannot sell beer directly to consumers, but they can charge for tours and give the beer away for free. For several years, breweries have been lobbying to change the law, arguing that it’s archaic and limits their potential to expand, while wholesalers that serve as middlemen between breweries and retailers in Georgia’s three-tier system have resisted. After SB 85 was introduced, “all sides declared victory,” the AJC reported.

The bill appears to have a smooth road ahead. Jasperse just so happens to be chairman of Regulated Industries and Utilities, the committee to which it will be assigned. It’s also cosponsored by Sen. Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville), the committee’s vice chairman.