Hey, Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board: You’re kind of creeping us out, man. We just want to buy some beer, Mr. Board. Why do you need records of our names, addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth? Why, when I decide to buy a choice brewski directly from a local craft brewer at an off-premise event in Alabama, would I want that type of information being reported back to the state? It’s unsettling, watching you twirl that creepstash, thumbing through my personal info, doing who knows what with it.
If you don’t know: Alabama passed a bill in March allowing breweries that make less than 60,000 barrels (bbls) of beer per year to sell up to 288 ounces per customer a day for off-premise use. So, how will the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABCB) regulate that amount to each customer? The board is proposing that beer and spirit makers collect personal information, including the customer’s name, address, phone number, date of birth and (what else?) sexual preference. OK, not that last one, but you get the point: It’s invasive.
According to AL.com:
Dean Argo, government relations and communications manager for the ABC Board, would not respond to questions about why the proposal is up for consideration or how the consumer information would be used by the state.
“When the Legislature makes changes to law pertaining to spirits, the ABC Board must update, change or write new rules and regulations to ensure that the law is enforced adequately and correctly,” he told AL.com. “Those updates, changes, or new rules are drafted by staff and then submitted to the Board for consideration. The Alabama Administrative Procedures Act requires that the proposed rules must be advertised and public comment taken. Once the Board has reviewed and considered the public input, it can then decide whether the proposed rule should be adopted or changed. “
Free the Hops (FTH) has been loud in its opposition to the proposal. FTH is a grassroots, non-profit organization whose mission is to promote Alabama craft beer. President Nick Hudson posted his take last week in a piece called “Scary New Rule Proposed by ABC on Growler Sales.” We suggest you read it below:
The Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board is proposing a change to how they regulate beer sales at local breweries and brewpubs that would significantly infringe on the privacy of craft beer consumers. The proposed rule in question pertains to Alabama Administrative Code 20-X-9-.04, (1) (b) (3). It would mandate that all breweries and brewpubs who sell beer for off premise consumption (i.e., growlers, bottled or canned beer) keep record of the purchaser’s information including name, address, telephone number, date of birth, and
drivers license numberfor every sales transaction. Even more concerning is that the ABC Board states that this information will be subject to their verification.
The implications of this should be highly concerning, not only to craft beer consumers, but to all people throughout the state. As nonsensical as it might seem, this rule would essentially empower the ABC Board to come to an individual’s house to confirm his or her purchase of a six pack of beer. One can’t help but ask, why? The members of Free the Hops fully oppose this proposed rule. It represents an unprecedented, unnecessary, and overreaching invasion of privacy. It is something that unfairly targets beer consumers, but also, frankly, has frightening implications for everyone.
There is a way to help stop this new proposal, you can mail a letter or send an email to the ABC Board Administrative Procedures Secretary. The email is [email protected] with the mailing address of
Alabama ABC Board
2715 Gunter Park Drive West
Montgomery, Alabama 36109
If you live in Alabama, we suggest you write the board right now before buying a beer becomes akin to this.