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

 

Advertisements

NC Law Caps Olde Meck Brewery’s Growth in Triad

Charlotte’s largest craft beer maker, Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, pulled out of its $130,000 investment in Greensboro, NC only one year after expanding into the Triad market.

OMB cites the reason for the retreat is North Carolina’s barrel cap on craft beer breweries: Once a brewery makes 25,000 barrels of beer in a year, it must turn over distribution to a third party.  The brewery is opposed to the NC law, and has committed to staying under the 24,999 annual barrel limit, even though its brewery could potentially produce 100,000 barrels per year.

OMB’s founder stated they would preemptively pull out of Greensboro in order to avoid underserving its home market of Charlotte. “Every drop counts. It’s one of those laws of unintended consequences,” he adds. “It takes OMB from something that is growing every year as an employment and tax creator and puts us in a holding pattern.”

Demand for OMB’s beers continues to grow, but the current production cap limits the brewery’s ability to release additional varieties and seasonal brews.

Original article ran in the Charlotte Business Journal.

Additional details on current opposition to NC’s production limit can be found at CharlotteBeer.com.

photo credit: letloveguideus.com