A bipartisan effort to update archaic laws in Alabama is brewing, and the 2016 legislative session will include alcohol-related bills on the agenda.
Ever since Alabama repealed prohibition on a state-wide level in 1937, there has been slow growth for breweries. The Brewpub Act was passed in 1992, which finally allowed brewpubs to open in Alabama- but with several restrictions. In 2009, ABV limits were raised through the Gourmet Beer bill, upping the alcohol by volume limits for beer from 6% to an imperial-grade of 13.9%. The Brewery Modernization Act in 2011 eliminated restrictions of taprooms and on-site tastings in Alabama breweries.
On February 9, 2016 – Democrat and Republican representatives introduced a new beer bill which addresses the 1992-era beer laws, hoping to remove the existing restrictions that require breweries to be located in historic buildings or economically-distressed areas as well as “wet” counties (prior to federal Prohibition). The new rules could also permit the sale of growlers and bottles or cans. However, breweries would still be limited to a production cap of 60,000 barrels per year to qualify for off-premise sales. This limit doesn’t currently apply to any breweries in Alabama, but that may not be too far off in the distance.
Note: Thanks and Cheers to Nick Hudson (President, Free the Hops) for the opinion piece, found here.