Today is an Important Day for Georgia Craft Beer

I never thought that this day would come, and I’m sure Georgia residents and brewers feel the same. I’ve been waiting for this since my first trip down South 7 years ago. This is an important day in Georgia craft beer. Today, SB 85 goes into effect.

You can finally buy a beer for on-site consumption. You can finally take package beer to go. Today. Is. The. Day.

According to Georgia Bill SB 85:

SB85 would allow direct sales at Georgia breweries and distilleries for both on-site consumption and to go.

  • SB85 strikes the language (enacted by SB63 in 2015) requiring tours, free samples, and free souvenirs
  • It allows breweries and distilleries to sell directly to the consumer for on-premise consumption and to go.
  • There is no daily volume limit for on-site sales
  • Breweries are limited to 288 oz per day (24pk/case of 12 oz cans/bottles), per person for to-go sales and a total combined (on-site and to go) limit of 3,000 barrels annually
  • Distilleries are limited to 2,250 ml per day (3x 750ml/fifth bottles), per person for to-go sales and a total combined (on-site and to go) limit of 500 barrels annually
  • The bill also clarifies language for brewpubs on the ability to do package sales, pending local approval

(check out the full story via Beer Guys Radio here)

So, let’s back up and talk about what it was like yesterday, vs what it’s going to be today.

As of 8/31/17 and prior:

  • Breweries were not able to sell directly to the consumer for on premise consumption or to go. No, you can’t hang out and have a pint. No, you can’t take crowlers/cans/anything with you. You can go there, have a tour, and consume a certain amount of samples, with strict ounce limits. Do not pass go, do not collect $200
  • Brewpubs could sell you a beer on-site, but you couldn’t take anything to go, and couldn’t distribute package sales.

By changing these laws and regulations, Georgia beer can begin to flourish in unprecedented amounts. These small businesses will garner more success furthering their local economies, opening up more jobs for their communities, and fostering growth to the surrounding businesses like farms, neighboring restaurants, retail, and more. Plus, with it easier to do business within the state of Georgia, more breweries can open and bigger breweries may be more open to additional locations within the state.

Oh, and the benefit to us as consumers, being able to grab six packs and sharing our beer with friends. Spending more money direct in hand at the brewery by hanging out and having a few. Selling direct, right to my mouth, just take my money already.

Congratulation Georgia breweries, brewpubs, and consumers. Cheers!

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