Alabama lawmakers and policy officials are starting to get excited about craft beer and its tourism and economic development potential in Alabama. We couldn’t be happier to see the increasing interest in craft beer in our state.

In order to attract large craft brewers into Alabama, lawmakers yesterday introduced HB581. Unfortunately, this organization cannot support the bill as currently written.

HB581 would allow brewers to operate a restaurant and conduct direct retail sales, which is a goal of this organization. Unfortunately, as written those provisions would only apply to breweries who produce in excess of 25,000 barrels. This would effectively cut out all existing Alabama breweries in an effort to entice larger businesses into Alabama. We do not support a bill that would give a legal advantage to large, established, out-of-state breweries at the expense of local Alabama business.

HB581 needs to be amended to apply to all craft breweries in Alabama. The accepted definition of a craft brewer includes only businesses that produce less than 6 million barrels. Instead of a minimum size, the bill needs a maximum size. Instead of only applying to breweries who produce more than 25,000 barrels, it needs to apply to breweries producing less than 6 million barrels.