The Alabama Brewers Guild urges Governor Kay Ivey to sign House Bill 303 by Representative Anthony Daniels of Huntsville.
HB303 would clarify existing law by clearly exempting brewery, distillery, and winery tasting rooms from a statewide law preventing alcohol manufacturers from selling alcohol between 9 PM Saturday and 2 AM the following Monday. This decades-old law was designed to regulate business-to-business transactions between alcohol manufacturers and wholesalers.
With the recent legalization of on-site sales at alcohol manufacturers, however, the law may be interpreted to prevent tasting rooms from operating during these times. HB303 would clearly exempt tasting room sales from this law, clarifying that these businesses can operate their retail side during the same times and in the same manner as other bars and restaurants in their area.
This clean-up bill was written and introduced after personnel with the Alabama ABC Board discovered the conflicting restriction on alcohol sales and suggested that the law should more clearly exempt tasting rooms from the restriction. The language for HB303 was developed with input from ABC and other industry members such as wholesalers.
HB303 overwhelmingly passed the State House of Representatives on March 8 by a vote of 74-8. It later unanimously passed the State Senate on March 27 by a vote of 29-0. Unfortunately, the bill is in “pocket veto” range, which means the Governor must sign the bill in order for it to be enacted.
Many counties and cities in Alabama have decided, as a community, to allow the sale of alcohol during expanded times. We urge Governor Ivey to respect those communities by signing HB303 into law.
Dan, can a craft brewery serve/sale product on site, or operate tasting room, without also being required to sell food?
Under state law, absolutely. However, there may be a local ordinance at the city or county level that has different requirements.