On Tuesday, March 19, Representative Rebecca Nordgren of Gadsden introduced HB151, also known as Brewery Modernization 2.0. This legislation is designed to update and clean-up the Brewery Modernization Act, the landmark 2011 legislation that legalized tasting rooms in Alabama.
Brewery Modernization 2.0 is the culmination of almost two years of review of the existing regulatory system. Derrell Winowich, president of the Alabama Brewers Guild and owner of Chattahoochee Brewing Co, remarked, “Tasting rooms have been legal in Alabama for about 8 years, and brewpubs for about 27 years. As the industry has grown, we’ve noticed small problems with the law. A couple years ago, we decided to do a comprehensive review of what reforms might be needed in Alabama, and HB151 is the result.”
Previous legislative proposals for craft beer have narrowly focused on one big change. Free the Hops legalized beer with an alcohol by volume content above 6% in 2009. Tasting rooms were legalized in 2011. Large-format bottles of up to 25.4 ounces were legalized in 2012. Homebrewing was legalized in 2013. The Growler Bill passed in 2016.
In contrast, Brewery Modernization 2.0 includes several smaller changes to update and clean-up the existing framework of regulations that industry members work under. These changes include:
- Simplifying the excise taxes on beer and spirits sold at the tasting room
- Allowing multiple-location brewing and distilling operations to thrive by allowing limited transfers between locations under common ownership
- Allowing brewery and distillery owners to fully participate in non-profits
- Allowing brewery owners to own brewpub locations
Executive Director Dan Roberts says Brewery Modernization 2.0 is key to the continued growth of the brewing industry in Alabama. “We thank Representative Nordgren for her leadership in sponsoring this legislation for the benefit of the state. Not only will this bill reduce unnecessary red tape and provide new avenues for growth for our breweries and distilleries, it will make our state more competitive for attracting expansion projects from out-of-state companies. This bill is good for craft beer, good for jobs, and good for the consumer.”