The Alabama Brewers Guild supports home delivery of alcoholic beverages. In the early weeks of the COVID-19 shutdown, the Guild openly called for an emergency rule to allow home delivery for all licensees to provide relief to the struggling hospitality industry.
We closely followed the progress of SB126 this year to codify home delivery into law. This legislation would benefit thousands of small businesses in Alabama from package stores to restaurants to our local breweries. Home delivery would also benefit Birmingham-based Shipt, a primary interest lobbying for the bill.
Throughout the process of this legislation, the Guild worked with lawmakers to ensure that local small business breweries and distilleries would be included. We were assured that the bill would include all licensees, and we helped prepare language to that effect.
Unfortunately, the bill as currently written specifically excludes breweries, wineries, and distilleries from participating in home delivery. It is our understanding that we were excluded due to the intervention from beer wholesalers and the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
We are shocked and disappointed as we have always advocated for all licensees to be included in this legislation. We do not believe the legislature should pick favorites based on the financial interests of beer wholesalers, and we urge the Alabama House of Representatives to amend the bill to benefit all licensed businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
According to the Brewers Association, Alabama brewed more than 2.6 million gallons of craft beer in 2019. In the same year, the Brewers Association estimates that craft beer generated more than $850 million in economic impact for Alabama.
please quote the section of sb126 that excludes breweries, etc…I find them in the bill expressly mentioned as beneficiaries of this bill.
I wish that were the case, Michael. It is a bit vague and legalistic, but the bill uses terms like “retail licensee” and “retail premise” throughout Section 3. Breweries, distilleries, and wineries in Alabama are not retail licensees but manufacturer licensees. There is a very clear separation between “retail” and “manufacturer” in Alabama law. The bill could have used more inclusive terms such as “licensee” or “licensee with off-premise retail privileges” (as it does once or twice), but it specifically excludes manufacturer tasting rooms.
I want to know more about the mechanisms in place that allow for a legislature to pick the licenses they prefer to support in a bill. Who can a craft beer fan contact about this?
I’m gonna check out the bill. Is there an intentional “strike through” I should look for?
Brian, see my above comment to Michael. Alabama law distinguishes between manufacturer, wholesaler, and retail class licenses. Breweries, distilleries, and wineries are in the manufacturer class although we also have retail privileges at the tasting rooms.
Understood. Are the right people in place in the House to make the amendments? I’d like to correspond as a constituent if that would help.
All we can do is communicate our concern to lawmakers, and I always encourage people to let them know how you feel about particular issues. The best way to find your state senator and state representative is here.
It’s exciting to see folks interested in the nuance of Alabama’s alcohol laws. This is the language we have proposed be added to Section 3 of the bill to ensure that brewery, distillery, and winery tasting rooms are included:
It’s basically saying that manufacturer tasting rooms, which do retail operations like everyone else considered a “retail licensee,” are also to be considered a “retailer” for this particular law.
It would be nice if the wording of the new proposal would include brewery, distillery, and winery tasting rooms in this new bill.