Bills would allow retail sales by brewers, distillers

[private]Legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate that could give the state’s distillers and craft brewers the ability to sell some of their products at the retail level.

Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) has introduced HB 60, which would allow distillers to obtain a retail package liquor store license from the state revenue department for retail sales on the premises

Distillers would be limited to selling not more than 10 percent of the total amount of distilled spirits they manufacture in a calendar year or 1,000 barrels, whichever amount is greater.

Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-McDonough) is preparing a bill for introduction that would allow licensed breweries to sell beer for on-site and off-site consumption (up to one case per person per day), with the total beer sold at these breweries not exceeding more than 3,000 barrels per year.

Craft brewers for years have pushing lawmakers to open up the retail end of the beer market for them, a move that has traditionally been opposed by the beer wholesalers.

A bill was enacted last year that allows craft brewers to sell tickets for “tours” of their brewing facilities that include a quantity of the product they brew. Jeffares’ bill would eliminate that tour requirement.

The craft brewers haven’t commented publicly on the Jeffares bill, but the Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association (GBWA) said in a press statement that they support it.

“A large thank you really goes to Lt. Governor [Casey] Cagle, Speaker [David] Ralston, Chairman Jeffares and Chairman [Howard] Maxwell for their work and effort on this legislation,” said Martin Smith, executive director of GBWA.

“The GBWA looks forward to the continued success of our industry and the sustained rise of Georgia as the best state to brew beer,” Smith said.

Willard bill spells out JQC’s new structure

Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) has introduced a House bill (HB 126) that spells out how the new Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) will be structured as of July 1.

The JQC, which investigates complaints of unethical conduct by judges, will be divided into a seven-member investigative panel and a three-member hearing panel.

The investigative panel, as the name suggests, would handle the investigations and the administration of the JQC. The hearing panel would act on the formal charges filed against judges by the investigative panel.

The investigative panel will include one attorney appointed by the governor, two judges appointed by the Supreme Court, an attorney and a civilian appointed by the lieutenant governor and an attorney and a civilian appointed by the House speaker.

The hearing panel will consist of one citizen appointed by the governor, and one judge and one attorney appointed by the Supreme Court. All appointees must be confirmed by the state Senate.

Much of the information compiled by these panels will be kept secret from the public: all cases involving the incapacity of a judge, and the work product of the commission and its staff, along with the deliberations of the commission.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: craft brewers , distillers , GBWA , JQC , retail sales , Wendell Willard