The Georgia Craft Brewer’s Guild just announced HB 314 has been introduced into the Georgia General Assembly. The intent of this bill is to allow an extremely limited exception to the three tier system by allowing Georgia craft breweries to sell no more than 288 ounces of beer per person per day for off-premise consumption. This is affectionately becoming known as the “fill the growler” bill.
Before getting into why passage of this bill is important for all citizens of Georgia, one thing needs to be made perfectly clear. Terrapin, and the other breweries in GA, are all supporters of the current three-tier system of alcohol distribution. There is no doubt that without our distributors as our business partners, Terrapin would be nowhere as successful as we are today. We are in no way trying to change or disrupt the current three-tier system in Georgia. In fact, if this HB314 were to pass, 99% of all beer sold in GA would continue to go through the beer distribution network.
However, the current restriction on brewery sales for off-premise consumption is putting Georgia at a huge disadvantage. To the best of my knowledge states that currently allow some form of off-premise sales at breweries include: Alaska, Arizona Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Washington DC.
Do these states know something that we do not? Apparently so. What they understand is this issue, first and foremost, is one of jobs and tax revenues.
In the last two years it was announced that Sierra Nevada (CA), New Belgium (CO) and Oskar Blues (CO) are all building second breweries in or around Asheville, NC. These three breweries alone are estimated to spend almost $300 million on construction and add 269 jobs to the local economy. Just imagine the increased state income tax, sales and use tax, property tax, etc. that Asheville and North Carolina will be collecting from these operations. Millions and millions of dollars just up the road from Georgia. Could those hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars have been brought to Georgia instead?
Two of these three companies at least looked at Georgia when deciding on a new location. If HB 314 had been passed at the time, would it have caused them to locate here? Maybe, maybe not. But there is no doubt that Georgia’s refusal to join the rest of the country in allowing off-premise retail sales at breweries was definitely part of their reasoning for locating elsewhere.
Do you want to see Georgia breweries have events like Dark Lord Day at Three Floyds
or Hunahpa Day at Cigar City
, where special release beers are available at the brewery? If so, then please call and email your local GA State House Representative and tell them you are in favor of HB 314, the “fill this growler” bill. You can find info on who to contact here
This last step is vital. In fact, it is so important I am going to make sure no one missed this link.
An anonynous member of the House Regulated Industries Committee (the group that must move HB314 from committee so it can be voted on) has stated that they have heard from several opponents to this bill but have yet to hear from a single supporter. The time is now to make your voice heard. This can only happen if you get involved.
**LESS THAN A WEEK IS LEFT BEFORE HB314 IS DEAD FOR THIS SESSION. PLEASE TAKE ACTION NOW!**
Thank you for your support.