On Tuesday, March 3, Representative K.L. Brown of Anniston introduced HB96, a bill which will create jobs and provide significant economic development in Alabama at zero cost to taxpayers. This Brewery Jobs Bill is the long overdue for the state.
HB96 was also carefully crafted to provide the maximum benefit to Alabama while avoiding any potential threats to alchol regulation.
In a nutshell, HB96 creates a new Craft Brewers License to recognize that small breweries and large corporate breweries should be regulated differently. It provides privileges and restrictions on these new licensees, as well as Alabama brewpub licensees, that are common for craft breweries across the country.
HB96 will create jobs
Alabama law handicaps breweries in the state by outlawing a common revenue stream, prohibiting a common promotion of an Alabama-made product, and discouraging investment. This is a major reason why Alabama, despite impressive recent growth, is still ranked 50th in economic impact from craft beer.
Our low ranking means we are short 3,000 jobs and $284 million in GDP when compared to the per-capita national average.
HB96 will bring Alabama law to national norms. Not only will this enable the growth of Alabama breweries, it will also enable urban revitalization and investment while also generating indirect and induced employment.
HB96 only applies to small brewers
To be eligible for the new license, breweries must produce less than 2 million barrels anually – the federal definition of a small brewer. Brewpubs in Alabama are already limited to 10,000 barrels production.
The barrelage count includes any type of parent company, so there is no danger of a large corporate brewer from participating in these privileges.
HB96 protects the three–tier system
By only applying to small brewers, and by explicitly prohibiting self-distribution, HB96 ensures that Alabama is still one of the strictest states in its interpretation of the three-tier system.
HB96 provides privileges that are common to small brewers across the country
This is far from some radical proposal. With the exception of Georgia, every other state allows some form of the privileges provided to small brewers in HB96.
In addition, wineries in Alabama have had these privileges for decades.
We urge the legislature to pass HB96
There are few opportunities for Alabama legislators to create jobs and grow an industry with no cost to taxpayers. HB96 is a no-nonsense piece of legislation that deserves a fair hearing and quick passage.