The Brewery Modernization Act

As promised, here is the text of the Brewery Modernization Act as we currently intend to introduce it:

The Brewery Modernization Act [pdf] (41KB)

We will not have the House or Senate bill numbers until the bill has had its first reading in either chamber.

The bill is fairly easy to understand, even in the legalese it’s written in. Basically, we’re amending the “Alabama Brewpub Act” of the early 1990s to the “Brewery Modernization Act” of 2010 to be more expansive in scope. Instead of applying to a special class of breweries known as brewpubs, the new act will apply to any “premises upon which beer is manufactured or brewed.”

If passed, breweries can sell on-premises like a brewpub, or to wholesalers, or to both. Although the breweries must be licensed, they do not need to be located in an historic building, have no production cap, and can be located in any wet county or city. There is also no requirement for a brewery to operate a restaurant in order to sell beer on-premises, although they certainly can and many probably will.

The final portion of the Brewery Modernization Act includes a legislative intent. Although not required, it was included in the previous “Alabama Brewpub Act,” so we thought it was appropriate to update:

The Legislature finds that it is in the best interest of the public welfare of the State of Alabama to promote the growth of the state’s brewing industry. Eighteen years after the passage of the Alabama Brewpub Act, only two brewpubs are currently in operation in the state, and there are only two breweries distributing beer via wholesalers. These beer producers are subjected to extensive regulations and limitations not imposed on Alabama wineries. In the interest of justice and promoting local industry in the state, the Legislature finds an effective way to assist these small businesses is to grant them some of the same privileges enjoyed by the state’s wineries.

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