No doubt, beer has made a strong comeback in Alabama. Thanks to grassroots organizations like Free The Hops, people in Alabama can now enjoy stronger beer alcohol levels, bigger beer container sizes, and brewpubs can be built and allowed to operate in the state. But, Alabama still has a very long way to go! According to the Brewers Association, Alabama is dead last when it comes to economic impact due to beer per capita.
Also, Alabama is 49th in breweries per capita. And the state only has 13 craft breweries, that is 40th overall. As you can see, beer in Alabama had an economic impact of over $238 million in 2012, and that number continues to rise. And the state produced over 32,000 barrels of craft beer in 2013. As you can see, the state has come from nearly nothing to producing something. All thanks to grassroots efforts to change the weird beer laws.
But the state still has some work to do! For example, Alabama and Georgia are the only states in America with an absolute prohibition on direct sales. Meaning, you can not consume beer being made at that brewpub you are in, or buy beer to take home from the brewpub you are visiting. Several bills will be introduced in the upcoming Alabama Legislative session that will allow brewpubs to brew up to 2 million barrels of beer annually, operate an on-site restaurant, give away free beer samples, and sell beer for on or off premise consumption.
Another bill will be introduced to allow the state to give craft brewers licenses, meaning more brewpubs can open and operate in Alabama. This state still has a long way to go before anyone over 21 can enjoy a freshly brewed beer from a wide variety of brewpubs. Now, will our lawmakers allow more expansion, or stick to their personal or religious beliefs? That is the big question?
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