Summer Starts with New GA Craft Brewery Rules in Effect

As noted back in January, Georgia’s craft beer breweries and wholesalers reached a truce, resulting in the new rules taking effect just in time for Memorial Day holiday weekend:

  • Georgia Breweries can now offer visitor tours at different prices based on the quantity and type of beer offered as “free souvenirs”

“The Georgia Craft Brewers Guild is deeply appreciative of the work the Department of Revenue did in getting these regulations written and approved,” Guild executive director Nancy Palmer said. “Today breweries across the state can now use social media to talk about where their products are sold, and they can charge whatever prices they see fit for their tour and tasting packages, including tours with to-go souvenirs.”

For now, Georgia craft beer fans will have to wait to get their growlers filled directly at the brewery.  It remains illegal for Georgia’s 52 breweries to sell beer directly to consumers. Breweries, like liquor distilleries, must sell their product to wholesalers, who then sell it to retailers.

Original Article can be found here; thanks to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Advertisements

13,000+ bottles of Charlotte beer going to World’s Largest Trade Show

The Charlotte, NC region is preparing to serve thousands of glasses of local craft beer at the world’s largest industrial trade fair, the Hannover Messe, in Germany.

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery sent over 13,000 bottles of its locally-made beer to Hannover, with the help of Kuehne + Nagel logistics and the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Charlotte.  560 cases of Charlotte’s craft beer will hopefully land in the hands of thousands of lucky trade fair attendees, including President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. Secretary of Transportation (and former Charlotte mayor) Anthony Foxx, and U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

The Charlotte Business Journal writes, “At a Charlotte Chamber event this morning at The Olde Mecklenberg Brewery, the chamber, the Charlotte Regional Partnership and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina announced they will lead a delegation of more than 20 people representing private companies and public-sector organizations to this year’s Hannover Messe. It is the world’s largest industrial trade fair, slated for April 25-29 in Hannover, Germany, and expected to draw 6,500 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors.

My firm, BridgehouseLaw LLP, will be attending the Hannover Messe as part of the official Charlotte Regional Partnership Delegation. A full list of the delegates can be found in the CBJ article here. We are honored to assist in the region’s economic development activities, and look forward to welcoming even more jobs, businesses, and investment to Charlotte and the surrounding counties.  Cheers and Prost!

SC Brewery goes Green Year-Round

Legal-Remedy-Beer-300x199

While many folks may be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with green-tinted beers today, Legal Remedy Brewing Company in Rock Hill, SC goes green every day with their solar-powered system and environmentally-friendly habits.  The brewery was just awarded the Green Spirit Award by CleanEnergy.org.

Solar panels create canopies at Legal Remedy’s front patio, providing a comfortable spot in the shade for the customers while also powering a 30-kilowatt solar power system for the brewery itself.  Thanks to these panels, plus an additional solar panel on the roof, Legal Remedy is able to offset about 35% of their electric bill.

The York County brewery also installed LED lights throughout the space, and returns its spent grain to local farms for the livestock to eat.

Congratulations and Cheers to Legal Remedy! Thanks to CleanEnergy.org for the original article.

 

 

 

Slushies Are So Yesterday – How One Convenience Store Brand uses Growlers to Grow Business

I found this industry-themed article today, published by NACS – The Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing – which highlights how a North Carolina convenience store chain has used craft beer growlers to grow its business.

Triangle Stop is a 10-unit chain in western NC, but four of its locations offer growler taps and on-premise beer and wine permits that allow customers to sample on site.

In May 2014, the Mountain River Tap & Growler bar opened inside the Mills River Triangle Stop, becoming the first convenience store in North Carolina with a growler bar after NC legalized the containers.  Other locations followed – with a Saluda location in October 2014, Brevard in 2015, and the newest location at the Asheville Regional Airport.  The beer business has been good: In the next two years, the company plans to demolish and rebuild at least one other current Triangle Stop location to add a growler bar.

This is no ordinary convenience store – two of the growler bars offer limited seating, providing an experience more like a small neighborhood bar, and plenty of local Asheville brews and ciders on tap. Monthly events are hosted at each of the Triangle Stops with a growler bar, and partner events with local breweries are common.  Customers have three options: 32-oz and 64-oz glass growler fills, and a 32-oz sealable can for single use.

Triangle Stop VP Beau Waddell states, “Overall, customer response to the growlers and bar has been “wonderful. Folks who come in can’t believe we offer such a variety of local beer on tap,” he said. “It’s unexpected but welcomed by the community.”

Full article by NACS Magazine contributor Sarah Hamaker can be found here

 

 

Alabama Craft Brewers Push for Growlers, Direct Sales

growler_beer

Let Peyton Manning have all the Budweiser he wants – with that (unpaid?) sales pitch at the end of Super Bowl 50, I have a feeling there’s already a team of Clydesdales and a hefty supply of Buds waiting in his driveway.

Meanwhile brewers in Alabama would likely prefer to celebrate a win in their state legislature by cracking open a 6-pack or a growler full of craft beer with their customers. Brewpubs & breweries currently have to turn away customers who ask for growler fills, and direct them to the nearest retailer who stocks their beer (and hopefully still has some available!) Otherwise, any beer sold at the brewery must be consumed on the premises.

Dan Roberts, executive director of the Alabama Brewers Guild, said Alabama is the only state in the U.S. that doesn’t allow customers to “leave a brewery with beer.” The guild represents 27 brewers across the state.

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Study Commission voted on recommendations for presentation to the state legislature to ease restrictions on brewpubs, wineries, distilleries, and also to allow for greater retail opportunities.  The recommendations passed a few weeks ago include the following:

  • Small brewers and brewpubs would be able to sell less than 60,000 barrels per year for retail, and sell up to 288 ounces per consumer per day, in any packaging including bottles, cans or growlers.
  • Brewpubs would no longer have to be located in a historic building or economically distressed area.
  • Brewers could directly deliver beer to charity functions, up to two kegs per event.
  • Alabama wineries would be able to retail wines at one ABC-board approved location.
  • Alabama distilleries would be able to directly sell consumers up to one 750 milliliter bottle of their spirits per person per year, only for off-premise consumption.

Members of the Commission traveled to North Carolina and Colorado to study and review those states’ laws, where the craft beer industry is thriving.

Text of Alabama Senate Bill 542 is here.

 

GA Wholesalers and Breweries Declare A Truce – For Now

beer tour imageGeorgia craft beer breweries and distilleries have reportedly reached an agreement with the state’s wholesalers in an attempt to avoid further battles over how these small businesses operate. 

How did we get here?  Last year, Georgia legislators passed laws to allow customers to purchase a brewery tour and receive “free” beer at the end of tour. Under that law, breweries would offer different tours at varying price points depending on the style and price of the beer offered.  Two months later, the Department of Revenue responded with new rules, forbidding breweries from changing the price of the tours based on the type of beer offered. Local breweries were furious, accusing the Department of Revenue for giving in to the demands of the wholesalers. Since then, the brewers and distillers combined forces and been demanding sweeping changes to Georgia’s alcohol laws. 

What are the terms of the truce? According to the deal, the Georgia Department of Revenue will issue new rules: 

  • Allow brewers again to sell brewery tours at variable prices based on the kind of beer offered.
  • Allow special events at breweries and distilleries.
  • Let brewers, distilleries and wholesalers use social media to alert the public about where to buy their products or advertise special events.
  • Allow third parties to sell tour tickets.
  • Let breweries and distilleries sell food on site.
  • And…the breweries and distilleries have promised not to seek any further changes to the alcohol laws for 2016.

Members of the Georgia Brewers Guild don’t see this as a “win” for breweries right now, but others hope that it’s a tiny step in the right direction.

*Tip of the hat to GA Beer Laws; Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

How Many Homebrewers under 1 Roof Does it Take to Violate State Law?

How many people in your household are home-brewing beer?   If it’s more than one, and if you live in Colorado, you may be in violation of Colorado state law.

While home-brewing has been legal in Colorado for decades, there is a funny interpretation of the state law that could mean only one person per household may home-brew beer or home-ferment wine. Colorado state law (C.R.S. 12-47-106) allows tax-free home-brewing of beer only by a “head of a family” and it has to be made “for family use.”

The problem is the law does not define what a “head of a family” means, so for now, the likely legal interpretation limits this to only one individual.

A bipartisan bill seeks to clarify this issue, and would update the current law to state that an “adult” may home-brew beer, and to expand the practice from “family use” to “personal use.” With that, homebrewing spouses, partners, roommates, and families may be able to breathe a little extra sigh of relief – until then, the real battle may be determining who is the “head” of the family.

“NetFlix of Beer”company accepted to Global Startup Accelerator

Charlotte, NC startup BREWPUBLIK – which has been described as the “NetFlix of Beer” – has been accepted to participate in 500 Startups, a global venture capital seed fund and started accelerator based in Silicon Valley.

Brewpublik delivers craft beer to their subscribers’ front door each month, using an online algorithm to determine their individual tastes and preferences. They just celebrated the company’s 1-year anniversary, and have enjoyed business growth by more than 20 percent month-over-month. Monthly members currently exceed 1,000 in Charlotte and Raleigh.

“We’re excited to take part in 500 Startups to represent Charlotte and the craft beer industry,” said Zach Jamison, BREWPUBLIK co-founder. “It’s the perfect platform to help us accelerate city to city, globally.”

Find The Charlotte Business Journal press release here.