Success so far
With the signing into law of Free The Hops' Gourmet Beer Bill in May 2009, one major restriction on beer in Alabama was significantly loosened. This law increased the limit on alcohol by volume (ABV) in beer from 6% to 13.9%. This was a huge step for beer lovers across the state.
We continued our mission to Free The Hops in Alabama, and in May 2011 passed the Brewery Modernization Act, which allows breweries to sell on-premises like a brewpub, or to wholesalers, or to both, and removed the crippling restrictions which prevented new breweries and brewpubs from opening. In the years since, taprooms have opened all over Alabama, in breweries, bottle shops, and even in salons!
In May 2012 we passed the Gourmet Bottle Bill, allowing the sale of bottles up to 25.4oz (750ml). This came into effect August 2012. With this, came the opportunity for Alabamians to embrace ‘growlers’ as a new medium for enjoying draft beer. Growlers are re-fillable containers that draft beer can be taken away from bottleshops in 32 or 64 ounce glass containers. So, now, its not just pre-packaged craft beer that one can enjoy from their favorite breweries.
Other Groups We Support
Home brewers - the keystone for most craft breweries - faced antiquated restrictions which left Alabama as one of only 2 states outlawing homebrewing; the other was Mississippi. We supported Right To Brew by asking you, our supporters and members, to contact your legislator regarding their proposed changes, and the new legislation came into effect May 2013. Congratulations to Right To Brew!
The Alabama Brews Guild took up the legislative mantle, since the Free The Hops met all of the goals we set out to and the remaining laws that needed to be more ‘craft friendly, were directly industry related. Free The Hops provides a portion of our fundraising dollars each year to the ABG for their lobbying needs. In March 2016, the Growler Bill was signed into law; allowing breweries to sell a small amount of product directly to the public “to go”, removing some unusual location restrictions on where breweries could locate, and allowing for charitable donations to be made directly to a non-profit event. The law went into effect 1 June 2016, to everyone delight. Consumers could now purchase beer to go directly from the source and Alabama breweries (which are still small businesses) enjoyed a new revenue stream. It was a WIN/WIN from our point of view (the consumer)! We will continue our support of the ABG and their efforts to make Alabama Brewing a thriving industry.