Local brewery celebrating new craft beer law

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)–  Georgia’s alcohol regulations are changing. Governor Nathan deal signed Senate Bill 85 into law Monday, loosening regulations for breweries and distilleries.

“I’m calling it the “Free the Beer” law, but it’s official name was Senate Bill 85,” Brey Sloan, owner of Riverwatch Brewery, said.

For the first time, beer and liquor manufacturers will be allowed to sell their products directly to consumers from the manufacturing plant.

Sloan said legally, when a Georgia brewery is open, tours have to be offered. Also, those breweries can serve no more than 36 ounces of beer to each customer.  These regulations change under the new law.

Drinkers will have to wait a few more months to take advantage of it, though– the law comes into effect September 1.

“We’ll be able to operate where you can come in and buy just one drink, you can buy a flight of tastings, you can buy three drinks. You can take beer home with you with to a case worth,” Sloan explained.

Sloan said the law will benefit the local economy.

“This will give us a little bit more profitability out of this business, which will enable us to expand, enable us to hire some other folks or change the working conditions we have right now, maybe get some more equipment. You’re going to get people who see it as a more attractive place to open up a brewery, so instead of two, you might end up with 6 or 7 in this area,” Sloan said.

This creates another avenue for tourism. Sloan said people will travel from farther away if new breweries and distilleries open shop in Augusta.

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