Brewery bill approved, headed to governor

Published 12:01 am Friday, March 10, 2017

NATCHEZ — A bill that would allow small craft breweries to sell limited amounts of their beers on the premises is headed to Gov. Phil Bryant.

The House on Tuesday concurred with changes the Senate made in House Bill 1322. Supporters of the bill said they believe Bryant supports it.

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The bill would allow small breweries to offer bottled or canned beer for sale to take home, as well as the beer they offer for consumption in their taprooms.

Natchez Brewing Company co-owner Pat Miller called the victory for brewers a “big win for small business in Mississippi.”

“It’s good Mississippi has come online with the rest of the country,” he said.

If signed, the law would go into effect July 1. Miller said he thinks the law could mean big changes for craft brewing in Mississippi.

“I think you’re going to see an uptick in breweries opening up,” he said. “I think it’s going to be more like Louisiana where there’s going to be a lot more breweries. It’s going to be awesome.”

Under the bill, breweries could not produce more than 60,000 barrels of light wine or beer but would be able to sell 10 percent or 1,500 barrels of their product, whichever is less, at the brewery.

The measure also would allow brewpubs, which make beer that can be consumed only on their premises, to sell beer in growlers (a sealed container that holds up to 128 ounces) for consumption elsewhere. Breweries would be barred from selling between midnight and 7 a.m.

Currently, craft breweries are allowed to conduct tours that offer beer tastings but not sell their products on site.

A similar bill died during last year’s legislative session.

A larger partnership was then created to push the legislation during this year’s session, led by the Mississippi Brewers Guild. The Mississippi Beer Distributors Association, which did not back last year’s efforts, was one of the key supporters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.