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Alabama Supreme Court rules in favor of Sweetwater

“In 2012, the Atlanta brewer notified AlaBev (then called Birmingham Beverage Company) of its intent to switch to Supreme Beverage. AlaBev sued Sweetwater for breach of contract and alleged that the brewer did not follow the process laid out in Alabama law to switch distributors.

Under Alabama law, a beer producer can only have one wholesaler for a given territory, usually counties. The law requires a producer and a wholesaler have a territorial agreement in writing and on file with the state Alcohol Beverage Control Board.

[The lower court judge] cited in his 2015 ruling that there’s no evidence that a written territorial agreement between SweetWater and AlaBev ever existed or was on file with the ABC Board in his ruling for SweetWater.

The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed [the lower court judge’s] decision Friday. The court did not issue a written opinion with the decision.” — Kelly Poe, AL.com

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Mississippi Brewers reach deal with Wholesalers, while Georgia brewers anticipate third year of legislative battle.

Press Release from Georgia Craft Brewers Guild:

Atlanta, Ga, September 21, 2016 – Today the Mississippi Brewers Guild announced a deal reached with the Mississippi Beer Distributors Association that will, upon passage of legislation, allow craft breweries in Mississippi to sell beer direct to the public among other concessions. Both the brewers and the wholesalers of Mississippi have shown tremendous leadership and partnership in the advancement of an industry that was in desperate need of attention.

Upon passage of this proposed legislation in Mississippi, Georgia will remain the sole state in the country where a brewery may not sell beer to the general public. As has been for decades now, the craft brewers of Georgia have one customer – their wholesaler. While consumers, economic developers, entrepreneurs, and state legislators have called for the ability to buy beer at a brewery, that privilege is reserved for the 13 businesses that wholesale Georgia craft beer.

The Georgia Craft Brewers Guild strongly supports legislation to allow Georgia’s breweries to sell beer in tasting rooms among other much needed modernizations to Georgia’s brewery laws. As always, and in the spirit of cooperation, we hope the Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association will have a change of heart and choose to support our legislative efforts this January.

Link to Jackson Free Press:

http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/weblogs/jackblog/2016/sep/20/mississippi-craft-brewers-and-mississippi-beer-dis/

For additional comment contact Nancy Palmer.

DOJ closes investigation into AB-InBev’s purchase of Devils Backbone

“The U.S. Department of Justice has officially closed its investigation into Anheuser-Busch InBev’s acquisition of Devils Backbone Brewing Company, according to a statement issued today by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Juan Arteaga.

Citing conditions in a previously agreed upon settlement between A-B InBev and the DOJ — one that permits the world’s largest beer company to proceed with its acquisition of SABMiller — Arteaga said the ‘competitive implications of ABI’s acquisition of Devils Backbone are too uncertain at this time to warrant further investigation.’” — Chris Furnari, Brewbound

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Texas Beer Litigation

“Declaring it unconstitutional, a Texas state judge struck down the law that prohibited brewers from receiving monetary compensation from distributors for their distribution rights. The rule was part of the bundle of 2013 legislation that was otherwise a boon to Texas breweries.

Brewers and their fans are rejoicing this victory right now, but they’re still holding their breaths over two other beer-related cases in Texas courts. Soon, these should also have outcomes.

One involves an issue that brewers pushed for in the 2013 legislative session, to no avail. As a result, Dallas’Deep Ellum Brewing sued the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission last year to try and get breweries the ability to sell beer to-go from their facilities — something that wineries and distilleries in Texas are both able to do. (Brewpubs, which sell food in addition to beer, can as well.)

And before that lawsuit, Cuvee Coffee decided to go to battle with the TABC over the issue of whether retailers can sell crowlers, which the TABC argues are one-use cans, rather than aluminum growlers, that only manufacturers of beer can sell.” – Arianna Auber, Austin 360.

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Brewpub Growler Sales in Atlanta

It was very exciting to be involved with the first growler sale by a brewpub in the City of Atlanta! What’s even cooler? I got to take home a growler of “Taylor Harper Oatmeal Porter.” I’ve won cases…won motions…won appeals…but taking home a beer named after you most certainly is at the top of the list! Thanks to all who were involved in making this happen!

5 Seasons growler photo

From left to right: Crawford Moran (5 Seasons owner), Kwanza Hall (City of Atlanta Councilmember), me, David Larkworthy (5 Seasons owner), Dan Plevak (attorney with my firm), and Hunter Hill (State Senator).

The scarcity of Tropicalia

“It has become increasingly available on-tap in bars and restaurants, but six packs remain in short supply, leading some retailers to stash the beer away on delivery days for their best customers, prompting less well-connected shoppers to get creative.

‘We have a few guys who follow the delivery truck to the store,’ says Matt Walton, a former associate at Lucky’s Beverage World in Woodstock. ‘They know which distributor brings the Tropicalia and they study those delivery routes. As soon as the beer is offloaded, they will try to buy all the Tropicalia we received.'” — Adam Kincaid, MyAJC

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Wild Heaven and Emergency Drinking Beer

“Since [Emergency Drinking Beer’s] debut in April 2015, it’s changed the course of Wild Heaven Craft Beers. The company started contract brewing with South Carolina’s Thomas Creek Brewery in 2010. It opened a space in Avondale Estates—a nice suburb of Atlanta just east of a nice suburb of Atlanta called Decatur—in 2014. When EDB debuted, the brewery was making about 4,000 barrels of beer a year. A year and a half later, they’ve doubled that volume (and purchased a lot of equipment) as the yellow canned wonder has become half of their business.”  Austin Ray — Good Beer Hunting

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