Close up of a man's hand grasping a mostly drunk, glass of beer with trails of suds on a bar coaster

Free the Beer in Georgia

This is going to be a fight in the legislature and it should be. Lobbyists and beer wholesalers, having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy off legislators, have stymied reforms that all but three states have.

The only kickstarter program I have ever funded was the Synek Beer system. Take a look at this:

The system allows you to go to a brewer or craft beer store, fill a type of bio-safe plastic bladder with beer on tap, and it keeps fresh for THIRTY DAYS! So if you are having a party, you can get it filled and serve your friends beer on tap of your choice.

But it is hard to do in Georgia. The bladder is 128 ounces, or two growlers worth.

In Georgia, if you took this to your local brewery, it would be illegal to fill up. It would also, under revenue rulings in Georgia, be illegal for the brewery to tell you the name of a store where you could fill up.

The entire system of beer laws in Georgia is designed to protect incumbent campaign contributions from wholesaler lobbyists. It breeds corruption and stifles innovation.

The Synek System is revolutionary. But there are few places around Georgia to be able to take advantage of it. Meanwhile, states bordering us are thriving.

This should be a very public policy fight in the legislature in 2016. Breweries should be able to sell 128 ounces on premises. It promotes their product without cutting into store purchases. The wholesalers entire argument is that they cannot let a single law change for fear that long term something will happen to them.

I had a law professor who frequently said, “It is only a slippery slope if you slide down it.” We do not have to slide down the slippery slope in letting breweries sell 128oz of beer on premise. The wholesalers, out of fear, are cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

It is time for a change and the overreaction of the Department of Revenue at the behest of the wholesale lobby should show the legislature they need to force that change now.

Free the beer in Georgia.

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Erick Erickson

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