Mountain Brook entertainment bill on governor’s desk

Legislation that would allow the Mountain Brook City Council to establish entertainment districts in the city’s Mountain Brook, English and Crestline villages awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

On Thursday, April 8, the Alabama Senate approved HB479 by Rep. David Faulkner, R-Birmingham. The House gave its OK March 30.

For the second week in a row, the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee carried over SB62 by Sen. Chris Elliott, R-Fairhope. The bill would allow the city of Orange Beach to have a third entertainment district. The Alabama Senate approved the bill March 16. Committee members said they had amendments they wished to make to the legislation.

On March 11, the committee approved another entertainment district bill,  SB88 by Sen. Rodger M. Smitherman, D-Birmingham, putting it in line for final approval in the Alabama House. SB88 would triple the number of entertainment districts allowed in the city of Birmingham. Currently, only five such districts are allowed. Smitherman’s bill would authorize 15. The Alabama Senate approved the legislation Feb. 25.

On Wednesday, March 31, the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee approved a substitute version of HB539 by Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, which would increase the amount of beer or alcohol small breweries, brewpubs or distilleries can sell for off-premise consumption. His original bill would have eliminated the daily cap of beer and liquor that may be sold for off-premise consumption altogether. His revised legislation partially mirrors a Senate bill that also has received committee approval, but makes additional provisions for brewpubs, which are manufacturers or brewers of 10,000 barrels or less in a year. Daniels’ bill would allow brewpubs to sell up to 864 ounces per customer, per day for off-premise consumption. It also would allow brewpubs to donate and deliver up to 31 gallons of beer to charitable nonprofit special events.

On March 17, the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee approved legislation related just to the amount of beer or alcohol small breweries or distilleries can sell for off-premise consumption.

SB321 by Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, would allow a licensed brewery that produces less than 60,000 barrels of beer to sell up to 864 ounces of beer per customer per day and a distillery to sell up to 4.5 liters of liquor per customer per day for off-premise consumption. “During the pandemic, breweries and craft distilleries have been struggling small businesses,” said Singleton. “This bill gives them more volume than they are selling now.

On Thursday, April 8, the Alabama Senate unanimously approved SB322 by Sen. Sam Givhan, R-Huntsville. Currently, beer produced by a contract brewery is included for purposes of calculating whether a brewery has exceeded the 60,000-barrel limit. Givhan’s bill would provide that when making that calculation, only beer provided by a contract brewery that is produced exclusively for the brewery is included in that calculation. “The bill allows related small breweries to transfer beer,” Givhan said.

Any licensed alcohol retailer could sell beer and wine for off-premises consumption at a drive-thru or walk-up window by July 1, under companion legislation that received committee approval March 31. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB334 by Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, and the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee gave a favorable report to HB560 by Rep. Gil Isbell, R-Gadsden. The companion bills require the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to adopt rules to govern this new sales method by Jan. 1, 2022, and those handling the sales to be 21 or older. Both await consideration by their respective chambers.

On April 1, the governor signed into law legislation allowing the Elmore County Commission by resolution to authorize draft beer sales in that county and cities within the county to do the same for both on- and off-premise consumption. Act No. 2021-251 received Senate approval March 21 and House approval March 16.

Legislation that would phase out retail alcohol sales at the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board’s 170 state stores by Sept. 30, 2026, is ready for debate by the full Senate.

On a voice vote March 4, the Senate Tourism Committee, approved SB287 by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, who described the bill as a “skinny” version of legislation he has introduced for several years. The latest bill leaves intact the state’s wholesale distribution of alcohol and enforcement functions. “The state should be out of the retail sales of alcohol,” Orr said.

In a public hearing on the bill, everyone who spoke opposed the legislation, including two members of the committee.

Committee Chairman Del Marsh, R-Anniston said, “This issue needs to be heard on the floor.” Previous attempts to get the state out of retail liquor sales have failed to gain legislative approval.


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