After some thoroughly absurd debate, Senate Bill 192 (the Brewery Modernization Act) passed the House in the Alabama legislature just moments ago. The bill allows breweries to have taprooms on premises and for brewpubs to sell beer off-premises (through a licensed distributor). It’s another step towards craft beer freedom in Alabama and we have Free the Hops to thank for the bill’s passage.
The debate was fairly tame relative to the Gourmet Beer Bill back in 2009. Alvin Holmes, the most hilarious man in the House, challenged the bill as expected. Actually, I listened to the proceedings for the entire Special Order Calendar this evening and Mr. Holmes challenged EVERY bill for reasons that were utterly baffling. I would say he just enjoys hearing himself speak, but if you’ve ever actually HEARD Alvin Holmes speak, that can’t be possible. He questioned the Brewery Modernization Act by pondering out loud why it was necessary for brewpubs to sell beer off-premises. He asked why you couldn’t just go to the club or warehouse (?) to buy beer instead. He also challenged Representative Hubbard (the man who brought the bill to the floor) to name a “fine beer” in an obvious attempt to mock people who enjoy craft beer. Hubbard responded that the beer he was referring to certainly “isn’t German beer”…a nice little dig at Alvin Holmes insane statement from a few years ago that the Free the Hops folks were all from Germany and drove Mercedes.*
*Note: I’ve met many of them…they do not drive Mercedes. Mostly Hyundais.
Representative Hubbard then went on to list a few beers formerly brewed by the Montgomery Brew Pub as examples of “fine beer”. He pointed out that the institution recently went out of business due to the draconian brewpub laws in the state. He graciously offered to buy Mr. Holmes a round of beer just as soon as the Montgomery Brew Pub re-opened following passage of the bill. Holmes then apparently had to take a dump or something because he exclaimed, “I ain’t going to bother this bill.” Gee, thanks.
For those interested in procedural stuff, the substitute bill (check out the Free the Hops blog for more information) had to be accepted first, before the debate. Then an amendment quickly passed (any FtH folks care to explain the amendment?). Finally, the bill came up for debate, Holmes blathered, and it passed fairly easily.*
*Editor’s Note: Free the Hops explained the amendment on Twitter. Apparently it was added to clarify some of the language in the bill. There were no substantive changes…just a bit of housekeeping. Also, I should point out that the substitute bill now must pass the Senate again, but since the original “tougher” bill already passed the Senate, there are no concerns about this happening. Finally, the Governor must sign the bill into law but that also should not be an issue.
Thanks again to all of the Free the Hops folks for their continued hard work in the name of Alabama craft beer drinkers. Let’s hope the Gourmet Bottle Bill passes next year and we can finally be caught up to every other state in the country.
Can’t wait to see Alvin Holmes at the Good People taproom in a few days! First Snake Handler is on me…