2015 Legislative Session

A Proposed Reform to Georgia's Beer Laws Could Also Be Great for Neighborhood Revitalization

The Atlanta craft beer scene is getting excited about the possibility of a proposed bill that would ask the Georgia Legislature to make significant changes to the state’s daft and antiquated beer distribution laws. Currently, breweries are prohibited from selling beer on their premises; either for on-site consumption or to take away in cans or bottles. To get around this, breweries offer complimentary tastes in either small, free cups or larger,purchased glasses. The proposed bill would get rid of this by allowing breweries to sell beer on-site, much like a normal bar, and to-go, much like a grocery or package store. It would also grant brewpubs the latter privilege.

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Inside the Creature Comforts Brewery redandblack.com

Several months ago, I wrote about the possibility of such a change being a great land use decision through the context of several blocks of downtown Athens. The decision by Creature Comforts Brewery to locate in downtown Athens instead of a cheaper out-of-the-way warehouse was a major boon for a part of the city that needed more pedestrian traffic. However, it left much to be desired since the brewery could only interact with customers in the very limited manner of “tastings” lasting 2-3 hours several days a week. A change in the law could encourage more brewers to locate in downtown settings by allowing them to take advantage of direct sales, which would, in turn, attract more people to the area. Increasing the scope of interaction between buildings and people generally leads to much more vibrant urban areas.The earlier article has much more about the current distribution system and the  unintended consequences it has on walkability in urban areas. The Georgia Craft Brewers Guild is working to secure sponsors for the bill in the hopes of getting it introduced this legislative session. To find out more or support the Guild in their efforts, please visit their site. Please see the 2015 Legislative Session page for ongoing coverage.

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