Powder Springs, Georgia. – Georgia’s craft brewery industry is demanding change. They want the state to ease restrictions on beer sales and have started a petition to get the attention of state lawmakers.
Doug Farrell is co-owner of Skint Chestnut Brewing Company in Powder Springs. The brewery is less than two years old. Farrell says he’s proud of what they’ve built, but they’d like to do more.
“We are limited by several state laws that make it very difficult for us to do anything beyond what we are doing right now,” he said.
Farrell says Georgia law only allows them to sell their beer in their taproom. If they want to sell it somewhere else, they have to find a dealer, and Farrell says that takes away from the bottom line.
“My goal is not to be one of these giant breweries, my goal is to bring beer to my local community so they can walk into a store or a restaurant and see my beer on the shelf, or they see it.” on faucet,” he said.
Georgia Senate Bill 163 was introduced earlier this year. If passed, it would allow breweries like Skint Chestnut to sell their beer to restaurants and grocery stores within 100 miles. The bill failed to gain traction last session, but the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild just launched a new petition to garner support for it next year.
“We are striving for fairer and more open market access to provide these companies with more flexibility,” said Joseph Cortes, executive director of the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild.
On the other hand, not everyone believes that state law should be changed. The owner of a local distribution company told FOX 5 he thinks it would be problematic if breweries were allowed to sell their own beer. He says retailers have told him that having to deal with each brewery individually would cause problems.
But Farrell believes the current law is hurting small businesses, and he hopes it will be changed to help not only him but the more than 150 other craft breweries in the state.
“We’re hoping to see some changes at the state level that will allow us to do that and be a little more competitive,” he said.
According to the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild, more than a thousand people have signed the petition since it was published.
If you would like to take a look at the petition, click here.