The joint legislative Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Study Commission on Tuesday approved their recommendations for the 2016 legislative session. The commission was formed to study Alabama’s laws related to the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages to determine if they are competitive, congruent, and consistent with laws across the United States.

As it relates to the craft brewing industry, the commission made three recommendations:

  1. Allowed licensed brewers and brewpubs producing fewer than 60,000 barrels of beer annually to directly sell up to 288 ounces per customer per day for off-premise consumption. The recommendation includes both growlers and packaged beer.
  2. Allow brewers and brewpubs to deliver up to two donated kegs of beer per charitable or non-profit event.
  3. Language limiting the location of a brewpub licensee to historic areas would be repealed.

Our reaction

We are very pleased with the report and believe the recommendations will go a long way in helping Alabama’s craft brewers remain competitive.

The commission had a daunting task. Alcohol laws are complex, and there are many stakeholders with competing interests that the commission had to consider. Despite that, chairs Alan Harper and Paul Sanford, along with the members of the commission, have brought forward a proposal that is not only a significant improvement for craft brewers but is also agreeable to our industry partners.

We are also pleased with the Alabama Wholesale Beer Association, which was proactive in the development of the recommendations and agrees with the commission’s recommendations for beer. In a statement released after the meeting, executive director Donna Alexander stated, “”Inter-industry coordination is not easy, and we applaud the committee on facilitating a great compromise that is agreeable to both small brewers and wholesalers. Ultimately, we are partners in making high quality products accessible to the adult consumer. Alabama beer wholesalers will continue to support the growth of the dynamic craft beer industry, and we will work together with our industry to ensure that Alabama consumers continue to have choice and variety in the marketplace.”

We are now looking forward to seeing legislation to accomplish these recommendations and passing it into law.