Tuesday, February 7th, the 2012 regular session of the Alabama
Legislature will begin at 12pm. A Regular Session may consist of no
more than 30 Legislative Days within the framework of a 105-calendar
day period according to the Legislature’s home page.

Last year’s session convened March 1, 2011, and adjourned June 9,
2011 to give you a timeframe for this year’s session. Keep an eye on
the Legislature’s home page for live video, audio, bill status updates
and more.

If you do not know who your state representatives are then go to this
page on Free the Hops’ website which will also give you the voting history
on previous Free the Hops bills as well. Free the Hops will notify you
via email(s) when legislators need to be contacted politely expressing
your support of the “Gourmet Bottle Bill”.

The Gourmet Bottle Bill (“GBB”) or container size restriction is the
legislation that Free the Hops will propose in the 2012 Legislative
Session. Alabama is the only state that restricts single containers of
beer to 16 ounces or less. The GBB seeks to remove the restriction
that prevents Alabamians from purchasing, for example, 22oz and 750ml
bottles which many craft breweries currently package in. Wine is also
packaged in 750ml bottles and Free the Hops wants to eliminate the
distinction between wine and beer when it comes to container size.

A whole range of beers are excluded by this law. For example, Rogue
Ales sells a number of their beers in these two sizes only. Likewise,
Terrapin Brewing in Athens, GA, sells their popular special release
series called “Side Project” in 22 oz bottles only. Many Belgian
breweries such as St. Bernardus package many of their beers in 750ml
corked and caged bottles. These breweries distribute their beers in
Alabama, but they are unable to distribute their full line of beers
due to the container size restriction. Other examples of craft
breweries which will not consider sending any of their beers to
Alabama until the container size restriction is lifted include Dogfish
Head, Stone, New Belgium and Firestone Walker.

Alabama’s own Good People Brewing Company packaged a series of beers
called “County Line” in 22oz bottles but were unable to sell them in
Jefferson County where they are located, instead having to send them
to one county that does allow the sale of 22oz bottles.

We have all seen how the state’s economy has benefited from the
Gourmet Beer Bill and the Brewery Modernization Act. This bill will
impact the state in much the same way as Free the Hops’ two previous
successful bills.

For more information regarding the Gourmet Bottle Bill please visit
Free the Hops’ restriction page.

Alabama Homebrewing Legalization

Although Free the Hops is not directly involved, we will also update
you on the progress of a bill to legalize home brewing in our state.
Alabama and Mississippi are the only two states in the country that
make brewing beer at home a crime. Please visit Alabama Homebrewing:
Right to Brew
for more information and to lend your support.

Birmingham’s Two Breweries Ask the University of Alabama to Stop the
Shepherd Bend Mine

Please visit this link to read the Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s
statement on the Shepherd Bend Mine including statements by Avondale
Brewing and Good People Brewing.