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Bulletin

The Gourmet Beer Bill In 2008 the Gourmet Beer Bill Free the Hops grew significantly from passed the house after some lively debate- 2004, and it introduced the first Gourmet “What’s wrong with the beer we got?” Beer Bill in 2007 to the Alabama legisla- But like most bills in 2008, it was collat- ture. There, it narrowly failed to pass the eral damage to the filibuster in the Senate Budget Isolation Resolution (BIR). BIR over SB191, the Macon County gambling passage is required to override Amend- bill. SB191 stole the stage and the session ment 448 of the Alabama Constitution, calendar in 2008, proving that gambling which states that no bills may be passed legislation can be even more polarizing in advance of the budget. Amendment than alcohol legislation. 448 was intended to provide incentive for The 2009 Senate saw its own share the legislature to pass the budget early. of filibustering, but nevertheless managed Those who have followed the Alabama to pass a large number of bills, including legislature know that BIR passage is com- HB373, in the final calendar days of the mon practice because the budget does not session. On May 22, 2009 the leadership typically get passed until the end of the at Free the Hops saw the first fruits of session calendar. The strange result is that their labor when Governor Riley signed most bills must pass the BIR 3/5 majority the Gourmet Beer Bill into law. Alabama vote before going to the floor where their Code Section 28-3-1(3) now reads: passage requires a simple majority. After Beer, or malt or brewed beverages. . missing the BIR, the Gourmet Beer Bill . . Any beer, lager beer, ale, porter, won the “Shroud Award,” a lighthearted malt or brewed beverage, or similar honor given to the “deadest” bill of the fermented malt liquor containing session: one-half of one percent or more of The Gourmet Beer Bill was alcohol by volume and not in excess of thirteen and nine-tenths percent an offering that rubbed against the by volume, by whatever name the GRAIN of some, and brewed STOUT same may be called. Good People Brewery. Photo courtesy of objections and PINT SIZE opposition Tom Bailey. from others. Whenever you bring “al- The Brewery Modernization Act key-haul” into the House, you can be In 2010, Free the Hops shifted its sure of SPIRITED discussions. Liber- focus to tackle another regulatory hurdle- ating libations is serious business... restrictions on Alabama breweries and than 10,000 barrels per year, and could brewpubs. Prior to the passage of the not be sold to wholesalers. Ala. Code § BE IT RESOLVED BY THE 28-4A-3 (1992 amendment). The 2010Brewery Modernization Act, Alabama HOUSE OF REPRESENTA- TIVES OF THE LEGISLATURE breweries could not host beer tastings, let version of the Brewery Modernization OF ALABAMA, that the win- alone Birmingham Bar events. Any entity Act sought to remove these restrictions ner of the 2007 Shroud Award is that sold beer it brewed directly to cus- and to remove the distinction between House Bill 195, authorizing the tomers to be consumed on premises was the definition of breweries and brewpubs. sale of speciality beer with a higher deemed a “brewpub” and fell subject to The 2010 bill never came up for a vote be- alcohol content. The sponsor of this crippling regulations. Ala. Code § 28- fore the House of Representatives before serving is requested to forget about 4A-2. Specifically, a brewpub in Alabama the representatives ran out of days on the that high-falutin’ international FERMENTATION, and instead was required to be located in an historic session calendar. flow forth for a frothy taste of some building, was only allowed in counties in The 2011 versions of the bill were down home HUMILIATION- which beer was brewed prior to Prohibi- modified after opposition arose from Designating the Recipient of the tion, was required to operate a restaurant Alabama beer wholesalers. The whole- 2007 Shroud Award, HR788, June with a seating capacity of at least 80, was salers viewed the proposed bills as chal- 7, 2007. limited in brewing capacity to no more lenges to the long-established three-tier 22 Birmingham Bar Association


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