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Monday, January 27, 2014 - 3:37am

Craft Brewers: Proposed Regulatory Reforms Don't Go Far Enough

Georgia craft brewers say regulatory reforms put forward by a state Senate committee don’t go nearly far enough.

In a report released last week, committee members say brewers should able to sell growlers up to 64 ounces at their breweries directly to customers for at-home consumption, provided that they drink some of it on premises first.

That recommendation among others drew a rebuke from the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild.

"That’s condoning drinking and then leaving," said Macon Beer Company co-founder and head brewer Jeremy Knowles. "I mean why not just say, ‘don’t take a sip,’ let me just sell it."

Georgia is one of many states operating under a three-tiered system that requires producers, distributors, and retailers of alcoholic beverages to be separate companies. Legislation that would relax that regulatory structure for microbrewers stalled in the legislature last year.

“Our biggest account is a bar that’s within a mile away of our building, yet our distributor has to pick it up from our place, take it up to Atlanta, and bring it back to the bar,” Knowles said.

Attempts to reach members of the Georgia Senate Study Committee on Brewpubs and Alcoholic Beverage Tastings for an interview have not yet been successful.