Beer Independence Day
Today is the big day. We’ve all been waiting for it. Well, all of us craft beer enthusiasts and those who want to see Middle Georgia businesses succeed. Many Georgians are unaware that beer breweries in the state of Georgia have been restricted by law from selling beer directly to the consumer. Even more would be shocked to know just how much excise tax revenue is lost to the state of Georgia because of an antiquated law. To put it simply, any entrepreneur who wants to open up a brewery is going to prefer a state with more favorable laws to reduce financial risk. But that all changes today – it’s Beer Independence Day here in Georgia!
The sad truth is that Georgia is the last state to allow breweries to sell direct to you, the customer. Entrepreneurs from Georgia who dream of starting a brewery have been moving to surrounding states with much more favorable laws. Out of 50 states, Georgia ranked 48th in breweries per capita. If you’d like to read a great oerview of the beer laws in Georgia be sure to check out Good Beer Hunting’s article Critical Drinking – Georgia’s Race to the Bottom.
“According to the GCBG’s latest data, Georgia ranks 48th in breweries per capita, 41st in economic impact per capita, and 17th in overall craft beer production.”
When business owners choose to start their brewery out of state the lost tax revenue is staggering. According to Good Beer Hunting’s article, a craft beer brewer producing 3000 barrels of beer would bring in $84,000 in excise tax. So, for every ten breweries that chose to open elsewhere due to Georgia’s old-fashioned ways, that’s $840,000 annually going to another state. But never fear because SB 85 is here to change all that!
What is SB 85?
Senate Bill 85 is basically the Declaration of Independence for the craft beer industry in Georgia. The bill will allow customers to buy up to a case of beer a day from the brewery. You can also stop by your favorite local spot and have a beer on site without having to purchase a tour package! (Might I suggest Macon Beer Company? Try the Macon Soul). Local brewers will be able to sell up to 3,000 barrels of beer directly to you. While this doesn’t bring back all the breweries we’ve lost to more accommodating states, it will be a catalyst for the next wave of entrepreneurs who dream of running their own brewery.
So let Georgia remember this day. Raise a glass at your local brewery and celebrate. Cheers!
“We’re going to live on. We’re going to survive. Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!”
-Independence Day 
Well – our Beer Independence Day at least. I for one think that is worth celebrating with a cold brew! Come on down to the the Macon Beer Company First Pint Pour event today. Event starts at 3pm with the first pint being poured at 3:30pm. The event is free to attend but be sure to bring some beer money!