Let’s hope that this is a temporary mistake that will be corrected in the House. Otherwise we’d have to think that distributor lobbyists got to the right people…just sayin’.
Here’s the deal…
The ability for craft breweries, wineries and distributors to home deliver their products directly to homes has kept many businesses alive in this era of COVID-19.
But last week, the Alabama Senate passed Senate Bill 126, which would give the go-ahead for delivery of distilled spirits in original containers from package stores, bars and restaurants, neglected to include craft breweries, wineries and distilleries in the legislation.
Alabama Guild Executive Director Jim Perkins told Alabama.com that he hopes the exclusion will be rectified in the House, after all craft beer alone generated more than $850 million in economic impact for Alabama.
“If they weigh all the ramifications, and take into account these businesses that are fighting for survival, I think they’ll take action,” he said. “It seems a very small, petty thing to be left out of a piece of legislation like this.”
And “petty” might be the correct word if this omission was more deliberate that it might first seem. Alabama’s wholesale distributors would have everything to gain if the state’s package stores, bars and restaurants were allowed to home deliver, after all, they sell directly to them.
In a statement the Alabama Brewers Guild made it clear that intervention from the wholesaler lobby might have been responsible for the state’s craft breweries, wineries and distilleries being omitted from the bill…
The Alabama Brewers Guild supports home delivery of alcoholic beverages. In the early weeks of the COVID-19 shutdown, the Guild openly called for an emergency rule to allow home delivery for all licensees to provide relief to the struggling hospitality industry.
We closely followed the progress of SB126 this year to codify home delivery into law. This legislation would benefit thousands of small businesses in Alabama from package stores to restaurants to our local breweries. Home delivery would also benefit Birmingham-based Shipt, a primary interest lobbying for the bill.
Throughout the process of this legislation, the Guild worked with lawmakers to ensure that local small business breweries and distilleries would be included. We were assured that the bill would include all licensees, and we helped prepare language to that effect.
Unfortunately, the bill as currently written specifically excludes breweries, wineries, and distilleries from participating in home delivery. It is our understanding that we were excluded due to the intervention from beer wholesalers and the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
We are shocked and disappointed as we have always advocated for all licensees to be included in this legislation.
We do not believe the legislature should pick favorites based on the financial interests of beer wholesalers, and we urge the Alabama House of Representatives to amend the bill to benefit all licensed businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-1.
According to the Brewers Association, Alabama brewed more than 2.6 million gallons of craft beer in 2019. In the same year, the Brewers Association estimates that craft beer generated more than $850 million in economic impact for Alabama.