Georgia Voices It s bottoms up on brewery laws

Georgia’s craft beer aficionados can’t buy their favorite brew for take-home at pubs or breweries. Instead, they must find a package shop or other retail establishment that stocks the beverage and buy it there.

This anti-consumer barrier deserves to fall.

In January, the Georgia Legislature is expected to consider a measure that would let breweries and brewpubs sell limited amounts of beer retail to their consumers in take-home containers, such as bottles or growlers.

Supporters include the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild, which lists 23 members on its website. They include SweetWater Brewing Co., which dominates Georgia’s craft beer market, to local companies like Moon River Brewing Co., Coastal Empire Beer Co. and Southbound Brewing Co.

But it likely will be an uphill fight.

Among the opponents are the Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association. …

Five lawmakers who serve on a special panel, the Senate Study Committee on Brewpubs and Alcoholic Beverage Tastings, are expected to make recommendations by January.

Legislation allowing to-go beer sales — as well as larger samples — has stalled in the legislature year after year, largely due to opposition from wholesalers and package stores. Such restraint in a free-market economy smacks of restraint of trade. It also denies Georgians of more choices when it comes to their favorite brews.

Consumers should have access to the widest range of domestically produced beer made available by licensed breweries. …

The success or failure of any product made in Georgia — whether it’s beer or something else — should depend on consumer demand. Not on artificial or political barriers.

Bottoms up.

Home Brewing

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