Senate panel OKs delivery of wine, beer in Alabama; No votes taken on other direct shipment bills

The Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee this week approved legislation that would allow small craft wineries or breweries to deliver their product to adults in areas where alcohol sales are already allowed in Alabama. SB271 by Sen. Andrew Jones, R-Centre, now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Meanwhile, public hearings were conducted but no votes were taken on two other direct shipment bills:

  • HB350 would allow an already licensed wine manufacturer to obtain a wine direct shipper permit from the Alcohol Beverage Control Board. Similar legislation has died in previous sessions, most recently in 2017. Those with a wine direct shipper license would be able to ship up to 24 cases of wine annually to a 21-year-old or older Alabama resident for that resident’s personal use and not for resale. A case is defined as nine liters or less of wine. The license would be $100 with a $50 annual renewal. Those same parameters are in SB271, which defines a case of beer as being 288 ounces or less.
  • SB274  is similar, but not identical to HB350.

The Alabama Senate this week approved SB146, which allows the city of Mountain Brook to move up the time restaurants and bars can offer alcoholic beverages on Sundays to 10 a.m. The bill next goes to the House Jefferson County Legislative delegation for consideration. Meanwhile, legislation was introduced this week that would allow the city of Hoover to take the same action.

The Alabama House approved legislation Thursday to allow the city of Enterprise by referendum to permit Sunday sales.

Next week, the House Tuscaloosa County Local Legislation Committee is expected to consider allowing Sunday sales in Coker by an ordinance of the Town Council, while House Local Legislation Committee is expected to discuss allowing the town of Oxford to do so by referendum.

Local Sunday sales bills for Baker HillMidwayUnion Springs and Hurtsboro all await final consideration by the House. Under all four bills, the governing body by ordinance can allow alcohol sales after 1 p.m. Sundays.

Legislation to allow city councils and county commissions in wet areas to authorize Sunday alcohol sales by ordinance, resolution or referendum continues to await final approval in the Senate. The Senate Tourism Committee last week approved HB168 by Rep. Reed Ingram, R-Mathews. Similar legislation, SB96, has been introduced in the Senate. Besides by vote of the local governing body, the legislation allows wet local governments – those already permitted by state law to authorize alcohol sales – to seek a vote of their constituents on Sunday alcohol sales, if preferred.  The bill does not require a referendum for Sunday sales, but gives wet local governments the option to call for a vote of the people or adopt Sunday sales by ordinance or resolution.

Other alcohol-related bills introduced so far in the 2019 regular session include:

  • SB276 /HB474 would allow wineries, distilleries, and breweries within entertainment districts to sell alcohol outside their business and within the entertainment districts. The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee is scheduled to consider the Senate version Tuesday.
  • SB269 would allow a winery to get a special license to hold a wine festival and sell their product for on-premises or off-premises consumption. The original bill allowed for both wine and beer festivals, but the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee removed breweries from the legislation. The bill is ready for consideration by the full Senate.
  • HB151 – Wide-sweeping legislation that, among other provisions, increases annual production allowed by brewpubs; removes the requirement that a brewpub in a historic or economically distressed area serve food; allows on-site tastings of Alabama-made alcohol beverages at breweries, wineries or distilleries with common ownership; and adopts federal standard for limited relationships among alcohol manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.

Other Alcohol Bills of Interest: House-Passed Infused Liquor Bill Awaits Senate Committee Action

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