• Craft beer maker pushes bill to allow beer sales at breweries

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    COBB COUNTY, Ga. - A Georgia Senate bill is on tap that would allow craft beer makers to sell a limited amount of their brews at their breweries. 

    Right now, you can buy a souvenir glass, T-shirt and even root beer at craft breweries around the state, but Georgia law will not allow you to walk out with any of the beer, not even a can.

    The owner of Red Hare Brewery says the law was created back in the 1930s, and it's time for a change. Roger Davis says it's time for Georgia to join the 45 other states that allow it.

    “We were the fifth brewery to open in Georgia,” Davis told Channel 2’s Lori Geary.

    Davis said his idea started eight years ago when he and his business partner bought a home brew kit. Now they're producing well over 100,000 cases of beer at their brewery.

    “At a winery, if you're producing the wine you can sell it. You just can't sell the beer,” Davis said.

    Georgia's beer industry operates on a so-called three-tier system. The brewery sells to the distributor, which then sells to the retailer.

    Davis says those laws haven't changed since Prohibition. 

    Senate Bill 63 would change the law, allowing folks to consume up to 72 oz. on the premises and buy a 12 pack to go.

    “We don't want to compete with any of those people that sell our beer. We value our distributors.  We value all of our retailers.  But it just seems like if we make a product ourselves, we should be able to sell a portion of it here to someone to enjoy and take back,” Davis said.

    Channel 2's Lori Geary reached out to the Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association, which represents the state's independent beer distributors.

    It opposes the bill, saying the system works fine the way it is because Georgia’s craft beer industry has grown from 14 to 40 breweries in the past few years.

    They say they don't support allowing brewers to operate as retailers.

    Davis has started a petition in favor of the bill. For more information, click here.

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