I’m all for our breweries in Georgia. I’ve started to focus on the beer industry in my home state since there are so many beer bloggers out there, and this issue couldn’t be more important to brewers here and now.
When I was in Colorado and was introduced to what is now craft beer (back then we simply called it microbrew), I was at dinner with a friend. I tried a brown ale called Alligator Ale at a Hops brewery in Colorado Springs. My friend had the same, and after dinner he told the waitress he wanted a growler of Alligator Ale. I had no idea what he was asking for.
The waitress brought him a half-gallon jug of Alligator Ale to take home. I immediately ordered the same and understood what greatness I had just realized. That was in or about the year 1999. One can still do this in Colorado at a brewpub.
Fast-forward to, say, 2014 – except now I’m in Georgia at a brewery or brewpub. If I wanted to take a growler of beer home from a brewpub I am simply out of luck – Georgia is still not up to speed on the benefits of allowing breweries and brewpubs to sell limited amounts of fresh beer directly to consumers. 45 states allow some form of direct sales, by the way. We are not one of them.
New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado has opened a new brewing facility in Asheville, NC. It has been said that they included Georgia in their search for an east-coast home, but our current laws caused them to hastily pass us over. North Carolina will end up with 140 more jobs because we’re just not a welcoming state. While I’m on the subject, other breweries from the other side of the country have broken ground over this way but not in Georgia. Sierra Nevada (California) and Oskar Blues (Colorado) also chose North Carolina, and Stone Brewing (California) chose Virginia.
The Georgia Craft Brewers Guild is behind an effort to change our laws, and they need a lobbyist to run in the trenches for us. If you live in Georgia (hell, even if you don’t) and you love craft beer, please support the efforts to raise this state above #47 in breweries per capita.
This IndieGoGo project ends January 2 and is currently not getting enough attention. The Georgia Craft Brewers Guild needs $30K for the legal help, and I need more full growlers of fresh beer.
At the very least, go sign the petition at gabeerjobs.com to let folks know you’re on board.
And here’s my take: Imagine I own a brewpub. Right now I can only sell the beer I make to the people inside my brewpub, and they have to consume it before they leave. If I become allowed to fill growlers with my beer for folks to take home and enjoy, I will
- Sell more beer
- Generate more tax revenue
- Make more beer
- Hire more people to help make and sell beer
- Buy less beer from breweries in other states
- Not have drunk people leave the brewpub (they can have one or two with dinner and take some to-go)
There are probably more benefits, but the big things for the politicians are job creation (check) and increased revenue (uh, check). Let’s get things moving forward and maybe I’ll start that brewpub.