When the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Study Commission was formed under Act 2015-144, the stated goal was to “determine if Alabama’s alcoholic beverage laws related to the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages are congruent, competitive, and consistent” with laws across the United States.
So what is congruent, competitive, and consistent in the United States? We commissioned a comprehensive, state-by-state survey of the beer laws across the United States as part of our Proposal Document for the commission. Some analysis of those laws reveals the following.
1. Most states allow breweries of any size to sell beer to customers for off-premise consumption
31 states have no size restrictions of any kind. 3 other states have some restrictions on smaller operations (apparently due to licenses which are no longer in use) but in practice allow breweries of any size to conduct off-premise sales.
2. Of the minority of states that have a size restriction, the average allowance is about 60,000 barrels per year
15 states limit off-premise sales to small breweries, defined by the number of barrels produced per year. The average allowance in those states is 58,879 barrels, although even that is a little misleading. Indiana law, for examples, restricts off-premise sales to breweries that produce and sell 90,000 barrels inside Indiana, allowing for unlimited production for sale outside the state.
3. Most states have no transaction limits on brewery off-premise sales
30 states have no transaction limits on brewery off-premise sales, which means the customer can buy as much beer as they want from the brewery.
4. Of the minority of states that have a transaction limit, the average allowance is about 7.9 gallons per transaction.
19 states do limit how much beer a customer can buy from at least some of their breweries. The average limit in those states is 7.9 gallons per transaction.
5. Nearly three-quarters of states allow for brewery self-distribution
37 states (and Washington, DC) allow some form of brewery self-distribution. That’s 74% of states.