Georgia breweries and distilleries could soon sell directly to customers

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

ATLANTA (WJBF) — Craft breweries and distilleries located in Georgia could soon be able to sell their products directly to customers.

Right now, alcohol manufacturers have to sell their products to a wholesaler who then sells the products to retail stores.

Breweries can offer “free samples” of beer to customers who purchase tickets for tours, but customers can’t just show up at breweries to buy beer.

Last week, Savannah River Brewing Company opened in Augusta. It’s the 2nd craft brewery to open in the Garden City.

Savannah River Brewing president, Steve Ellison, says the current state law is confusing for consumers.

“The first person who showed up at the brewery on Saturday was a gentlemen who didn’t really understand the laws that are currently in place. And he just wanted to buy a beer. He was just like, ‘can I buy one of your beers? I see you’re open now, so can I get one of your beers?’ And I said, ‘no you have to buy a tour,'” Ellison said.

Georgia Senate Bill 85 was created for craft breweries, but distilleries were recently added to the legislation.

The bill passed the senate and should pass the house. After that, the governor will have to sign it into law.

The proposed changes would allow breweries to sell 288 ounces of beer per customer per day. 288 ounces is equivalent to a 24-pack of 12-ounce beers.

Distilleries would be able to sell 2,250 milliliters of alcohol to each customer per day. That’s equivalent to three 750ml bottles.

Senate Bill 85 would affect Augusta’s Riverwatch Brewery, Savannah River Brewing Company and Fruitland Augusta Vodka.

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