What’s a growler you say? A growler is a 64 oz. jug that is the industry standard for brewpubs and breweries to sell “to go”.

Recently, the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild, with the support of Representatives Tom Taylor and Ron Stephens, introduced the “Fill the Growler Bill”-HB 314.  HB 314 is all about expansion of the market, job creation, giving the consumers what they want, increased awareness of Craft Beer, and the growth of the Craft Brewing industry in the State of Georgia. What the bill will do is allow Breweries and Brewpubs to sell up to   288 oz. (that’s equivalent to one case) of beer per person per day for off premise consumption. What’s that mean for you? It means you can go to your favorite pub, have a great meal, and take home some great beer to enjoy back at home. You’d also be able to take a tour of one of Georgia’s great packaging breweries and take home, say, a mixed case of your favorite brews as fresh as you could ever get them. Sounding pretty good huh?

 

The Fill the Growler Bill gives Georgia Breweries and Brewpubs an invaluable tool for brand building.  The brands that have grown up in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys would not be what they are today if not for California’s allowance of direct retail sales at the wineries.  When we visit a winery we buy into that brand based on the tour, the tasting, the meal we enjoy at the winery’s restaurant and the wine we purchase to take home and share with family and friends.  But, we don’t fly back to California every time we want to buy another bottle of that wine.  We go to our local grocery or liquor store; ask for it and they purchase that wine from the local wholesaler.  The existing structure alone cannot accomplish the goals of providing the best craft beer experience that customers crave and deserve.  Nobody knows more about the craft beer served in a Brewpub or made in a Brewery than the Brew Master.  Growler sales by Breweries and Brewpubs permit the best-informed interaction with the Consumer. There is nothing available in the retail market as fresh as the product that can be served directly by a brewery or a brewpub. The ability for the consumer to bring home a growler of the beer they enjoyed with dinner or after a tour helps to complete the craft beer experience; the consumer might not be able to find the same fresh tapped craft beer from a retailer.

 

Other states have been supportive of their Craft Beer industries (and the entrepreneurs behind them) and the result has been the creation of new high skilled jobs and a larger tax base.  It is always better to grow the tax base than seek to impose higher taxes on a smaller base. Here’s a list of states that allow off premise sales for breweries and brewpubs:  Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming…that’s 40 out of 50 plus the nation’s capital! More than just a few!

 

Support of our Craft Beer industry is a bid for an improvement in culture and living conditions in the State of Georgia.  Craft Beer enthusiasts tend to be smart, highly educated people who appreciate higher end consumables.  These are highly desirable citizens.  It would be difficult if not impossible to quantify, but a thriving Craft Beer culture in the State of Georgia could be an important factor in attracting new talent and opportunity to our State.  Better to create that environment here than to allow competitive states to take all the opportunity.

 

Tourism is an essential part of Georgia’s current and future economy and Brewery Tourism is a growing phenomenon across our nation.  Encouragement of Georgia’s nascent Craft Beer industry is a vote in support of our tourism industry and for economic development.  A healthy Craft Beer industry in Georgia will promote international investment as international investors realize that the citizens of Georgia are as smart and forward-thinking as citizens of their own country.

 

So the time is now! We need your support! We know you want it because we hear it every day, but now you need to tell the people that can make the change- your House and Senate Representatives. Call them, email them, fax them, heck send the Pony Express! Below are links to help you find out who represents you and how to contact them. Don’t delay! You can drop a quick email saying you support the bill. Exercise your citizenship! Also check out the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild web site.

NOTE: We have just learned that an identical bill has been introduced in the Senate- SB174 introduced by Senator Josh McKoon. So hit your Senators up too!

 

Find your representative:
http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/

Read the bill and contact your representative:

 http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx

Join the Guild! :

www.georgiacraftbrewersguild.org