New brewery law takes now in effect

Starting today, local beer fans are able to buy directly from local breweries.

Under previous state law, brewery visitors could only buy tours of the facilities and brewers could give them samples or souvenirs of their products.  This spring, however, state lawmakers approved Senate Bill 85, which updated the law to allow breweries to sell beverages instead effective September 1. 

"This really is an ultimate game changer for the brewery itself," said Pat Rains, one of the co-founders of Gate City Brewing Company in Roswell.

To prepare for the shift, Gate City had to establish by-the-drink prices and add more points of sale to its tap room, which in turn, meant they hired a few more employees. 

The Georgia Craft Brewers Guild estimates the change in the law will generate $40 million in investment in the next six months.  According to the GCBG, Georgia currently has more than 40 craft breweries around the state and 10 to 12 new ones open each year.  They believe SB 85 will increase that to 20 annually for the next few years. 

"We're all really excited for this change and we really all believe that it's going to be good in the long run for Georgia breweries, Georgia craft beer, the consumers and the wholesalers," said Rains.  "So, we really feel like this is something that's been a long time coming, but something that's really needed and something that will be very beneficial to our state." 

Gate City Brewing Company will open its doors under the new law for the first time Friday at 11:00 a.m.