Brewery and beer laws throughout the United States are not consistent, so a list like this comes with many caveats. However, here are some broad facts about the brewery laws throughout the United States, as they related to direct sales and retail sales. These statements were compiled based on an analysis of our proposals for the Alcohol Commission.
1. Alabama is the only state with no allowance for off-premise sales from the brewery or brewpub (such as growlers)
Granted, Mississippi effectively has no off-premise sales as their brewpub license, the only license that allows direct sales, is so restrictive that no brewery uses it. You also might say that Georgia doesn’t allow direct sales, but only allows a “souvenir” six-pack after a paid tour. But even as terrible as a few other state brewery laws are, Alabama remains the only state where you can’t leave a brewery or brewpub with beer to take home.
2. Most states allow off-premise sales from a brewery of any size
Our assumption is that any Alabama law allowing off-premise sales will only apply to breweries that produce below a certain amount of beer. However, 32 states and DC allow breweries of any size to conduct some form of off-premise sales. Of the 19 states that do limit the size of the brewery, the average production allowance is a little over 60,000 bbls.
3. Most states do not have transaction limits
Another assumption is that any Alabama law allowing off-premise sales will be limited to a certain amount of beer per person per day. However, 31 states do not have transaction limits. Of the 19 states that do have transaction limits, the average allowed per person per day is 7.75 gallons, which happens to be the equivalent of a smaller 1/4 bbl keg.
4. Almost no states limit off-premise sales to draft beer or growlers
At the end of the last session, we supported a minimal off-premise bill that would limit brewery sales to 2 growlers per person per day. If it had passed, Alabama would have been one of the very few states to limit off-premise sales to draft beer. Hawaii only allows for the sale of kegs or growlers. Brewpubs in West Virginia may only sell 2 growlers per person per day. The Mississippi brewpub license, which no one uses, only allows for the limited sale of kegs.
5. Almost every state allows some brewers to sell other alcohol
Brewpubs are brewery-restaurants, and almost every state allows them to exist – even Alabama. In order for these establishments to operate as a functional restaurant, they need the ability to have a full bar in addition to their own beer. Although our proposal to allow craft brewers to hold retail licenses in Alabama may seem controversial, it’s already allowed for those brewers who are licensed under the Alabama Brewpub Act.