The Georgia craft beer distribution battle is over. Well, at least there has been a conclusion on this specific matter. Click that link for the full details, but the gist is Georgia’s brewers won a small perk (giving beer as a “souvenir” as part of a tour), but the state’s wholesalers talked to some of their pals and got what essentially was a loophole to put that idea on hold. Brewers were obviously unhappy. Cut to this week, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that all sides have agreed to a regulatory solution.
The deal will:
Allow brewers again to sell brewery tours at variable prices based on the kind of beer offered.
Allow special events at breweries and distilleries.
Let brewers, distilleries and wholesalers use social media to alert the public about where to buy their products or advertise special events.
Allow third parties to sell tour tickets.
Let breweries and distilleries sell food on site.
We at CBB have mixed feelings. On the one hand, nice! Glad a compromise could be reached with craft breweries getting what they wanted (and deserved). Some breweries remarked on how their business plans hinged on these sales. But on the other hand, uh, look at that list. Breweries can now use social media to promote events? They can now sell food on site? Wow! Big concessions here. We hear the next provision up for debate is “Customers will be allowed to sit in chairs.” Be careful, Georgia. Don’t allow too much beer selling and promotion. Someone might have fun, or even worse, jobs might get created.
Anyway, I think this quote from another Atlanta Journal Constitution article sums it up:
“They’re giving us back the 10-cent lollipop they originally gave us on July 1 and took from us on Sept. 25,” said Scott Hedeen, brewmaster and owner of Burnt Hickory Brewery in Kennesaw.
CBB says, we don’t think this is the last distribution/regulatory battle you will be hearing about in Georgia.