Atlanta - You would be able to tour a brewery in Georgia, consume the product on site, and take a limited amount home under a bill that’s before the state House.
Current law prohibits the purchase of craft beer on site, but breweries have gotten creative by allowing visitors to purchase a glass which is then filled with a free sample.
Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta) has introduced a bill that would allow breweries to sell pints not to exceed 72 ounces to the public and up 144 ounces, the equivalent of a 12-pack, to go. Brewpubs could also sell the same amount of packaged beer.
“When I hear from small businesses about ways that we can amend the laws to make it more favorable for small business, then that’s something that I’m going to listen to and this seems to be an easy compromise to just allow for a limited amount of sales just to the consumer,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
Bob Sandage has been brewing his own beer for more than 20 years and in 2011 decided to open Wrecking Bar Brewpub on Moreland Avenue in Atlanta.
“Obviously we can sell beer within the brewpub but if somebody wanted to take a container to go, they’re not able to do that,” he says. “Georgia is one of only five states where that can’t happen.”
Sandage says customers who are unfamiliar with current law ask on daily basis to take the beer home.
His general manager and partner Stevenson Rosslow says if the bill passes, he anticipates a big surge in business.
“We would have to hire more staff in order to service the growler needs of our customers,” he says.
Sandage is in the process of purchasing a 65-acre farm in Loganville with plans to open a brewery there. He plans to host tours and would offer his beer for sale on site if the bill passes.
“We would look to have the brewery out there be a top echelon-kind of brewery within the first few years, and it would be a destination for people when they come to town,” he says.
Hill says besides helping small businesses, a boost in tourism for Georgia would be another benefit of the bill since many beer lovers travel state to state to sample the different varieties.
“We have the least amount of craft breweries per capita almost in the country; we’re actually 47th out of 50, yet we have great brews,” he says.
Hill expects the number of breweries to grow in Georgia if the bill passes.