Georgia’s small brewers get hosed again | Kyle Wingfield

1
Oct

Georgia’s small brewers get hosed again | Kyle Wingfield

Georgia’s mandated middleman monopolies are at it again.

Perhaps no more market-oriented piece of legislation than Senate Bill 63, a.k.a. the “Beer Jobs Bill,” cleared the General Assembly this year. But that says more about the dearth of such bills in this, the alleged “best state in the nation to do business,” than the brilliance of this particular one.

SB 63 was held up by lawmakers beholden to the alcohol-wholesalers lobby at every turn before finally gaining approval as a watered-down, near-beer version of itself on the final day of the session. It wasn’t much: Breweries won the chance to give away limited amounts of their beer as “free souvenirs” included in the price of “educational and promotional brewery tours,” a needlessly complicated compromise only Rube Goldberg could love. Given the way even limited “sales” of beer can boost a small brewery’s bottom line and help it grow, though, at least it was something.

The operative word: was.

Out of the blue, the state Revenue Department recently issued a rule to clarify this muddle. Its chosen form of clarity? Tearing a hole clear through the law.

The final text of SB 63 allows breweries to “charge varying fees for the brewery tours.” It says nothing about how those fees are to be determined. The Revenue Department now says breweries “may not vary tour prices in such a way that the tour prices are clearly and directly tied to the market value of the alcohol furnished.”

via Georgia’s small brewers get hosed again | Kyle Wingfield.

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