In March of 2016, Gov. Bentley signed a beer-to-go bill making it legal for brewers to sell beer directly to customers. The so-called “Growler bill” has recently gone into effect as of June 1st, 2016.
Brewery owners believe the ability to sell beer directly to customers for off-premise consumption will be a boon for both the beer industry and Alabama’s economy.
The new law has implemented the following changes to the state of Alabama’s alcohol laws:
- Breweries that make fewer than 60,000 barrels per year may directly sell up to 288 ounces of beer per customer per day for the purpose of off-premise consumption
- Breweries are now permitted to deliver up to two donated beer kegs to licensed charity events
- Brewpubs are no longer required to open only in historic districts, historic buildings or areas of economic distress
This law has been a few years in the making, thanks to previous beer-friendly legislation. In May 2009, the so-called Free the Hops’ Gourmet Beer Bill passed, which increased beer alcohol by volume limits from 6 percent to 13.9 percent. In 2011, the Brewery Modernization Act gave breweries the right to sell beer on-premises at brewpubs, and in 2012, the Gourmet Bottle Bill allowed bottled beer to be sold in bottles up to 25.4 ounces.
As such, the beer-to-go bill is simply the latest legal development in a string of brewery-friendly legal policies in the state. The Alabama beer industry contributes $2 billion each year to the Alabama economy, according to a recent economic impact study. Studies like these are part of the reason why many Alabamans are greeting the beer-to-go bill’s enactment into law with a great deal of enthusiasm.
While enthusiasm over the economics may be understandably high, the potential safety risks should not be discounted.
Is Beer-to-Go Law A Public Safety Risk?
In the state of Alabama, it is a known fact that Alabama is a state with some of the highest drinking and driving fatalities per capita. Compounding this troubling statistic is that Alabama has a relatively small number of drinking and driving arrests made relative to the number of deaths in the state.
One reason this discrepancy may exist is the fact that Alabama is a state with some of the most expansive public roads, which makes effective policing against drunk driving more difficult. Alabama’s 101,811 miles of public roads are already difficult enough to policed without the threat of drivers consuming beer on their drive home from a brewery. While only time will tell whether the beer-to-go law materially increases the amount of drunk driving in the state, the issue bears monitoring.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driver’s negligence in an Alabama auto accident, Noel B. Leonard will help you receive the legal compensation you are entitled to under Alabama law. From his office in Foley, Noel represents the drunk driving victims of Foley as well as Alabama residents living in Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia Counties.
Contact Alabama injury attorney Noel B. Leonard or call 251-943-8638 for a consultation with an Alabama injury attorney who fights for your right to compensation that helps you heal after your Alabama auto accident.