Statement from the Alabama Brewers Guild regarding SB294…
Alabama is currently the only state that prohibits the sale of beer packaged in containers larger than 16 oz. Free the Hops, an independent consumer advocacy organization, has proposed SB294, the Gourmet Bottle Bill, to raise this limit to 25.4 oz. This bill passed the Alabama State Senate on February 21 and is currently awaiting action in the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee.
The Alabama Brewers Guild supports this legislation. We believe consumers over 21 should have access to the widest range of beers made available by licensed breweries. This legislation is important to Alabama breweries and consumers for many reasons.
Large format bottles provide a better presentation for our products. As small businesses and local breweries, we try to distinguish ourselves from the mass-produced, “macro” beer that many people are used to. Large format bottles have a more distinguished look and are always sold as singles like wine. Some of our member breweries are delaying plans to bottle their beer until this legislation is passed.
Large format bottles are more economical for small production breweries. The process and material cost of bottling is much more expensive for small bottles. And because large format bottles are always sold as singles, there’s no process to put together a six pack.
This restriction effectively bans many gourmet beers. Many high-end and expensive beers are only packaged in 22 oz. or 750 mL bottles, which look more like a wine bottle. The strict container size restriction prohibits these gourmet beers from being sold in Alabama.
Large format bottles bring more tax revenue to Alabama. Because of the way alcohol is taxed in Alabama, a single 22 oz. bottle of beer has the same excise tax as 24 oz. of small bottles. A single 750 mL (25.4 oz) bottle of beer has the same excise tax as 36 oz. of small bottles.