Governor Brewer Approved SB 1397, the "Liquor Omnibus" Bill; Here's Why It Matters To You

Categories: News, Wake Up Call

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TheDigitel Beaufort/Flickr
SB1397 means good news for beer lovers!
Governor Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1397, nicknamed the "Liquor Omnibus" bill, into law on Wednesday, and though you might not realize it yet, the new law could directly impact you -- particularly if you like to drink craft beer.

That's because one of the biggest changes the bill will bring to the state concerns the regulations on growlers, as in those 64-ounce refillable jugs of beer that you've been able to get filled at any bar in the state since the enactment of the AZ Growler Law in 2012.

See also: Ten Places in Metro Phoenix to Get Your Growler Filled -- and Some Handy Tips on the Whole Growler Thing.

SB 1397 has removed the mandate that growlers must be made of glass. Moving forward, Arizona microbreweries and customers will be able to use growlers made of any material approved by a national sanitation organization. Those materials include stainless steel, ceramic and other nonporous, sanitary materials.

And on the liquor side of things, there's more good news.

SB 1397 creates a new Craft Distillers License that should make it easier for those trying to break into Arizona's fledgling micro-distilling scene. The annual cap for craft distillers is set at 20,000 gallons a year -- much higher than the originally proposed cap of 2,378 gallons, which had at least one of the state's distillers pretty upset.

But the law still isn't considered a total win by the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. The organization is unhappy with the standing production cap for microbrewers : the annual limit of production stands at 1,240,000 gallons -- that's 40,000 barrels of beer -- per year. If a brewery produces more they're required to obtain a producer's license, which then puts limitations on retail sales.

According to the guild, some of the state's bigger producers, including Four Peaks and SanTan Brewery, are on the verge of reaching that cap and may be forced to close their restaurants and tasting rooms unless the law is changed. They intend to work on raising that cap during the next legislative session.

You can read the entire bill for yourself on the Arizona Legislature website.

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2 comments
Adrian Betti
Adrian Betti

lol they won't close. They will just reach peak production. Who the fuck wrote this?

Pat_Apalatequi
Pat_Apalatequi

I have a hard time understanding how any legislator can run for office that doesn't support local businesses like Four Peaks and San Tan who are employing local people, paying local taxes and supporting the local economy. They need to be allowed to grow their business. Allowing them to make more beer only means less beer from out of state will be imported into Arizona. From what I have heard some of the local distributors got the production limit thrown out of the bill. The Arizona Craft Brewer Guild has kept quiet about who is against them. They should make the names of those people who are anti small local business public so that we can make our opinions known to them.  Or maybe someone should introduce a bill saying that a local distributor can only sell X amount of beer or wine and not be able to grow their business past a certain level. Make the beer distribution business realize how stupid the current law restricting the amount of beer a local business can produce is. Just because they are run by people with a lot of money shouldn't allow them to dictate what should be a common sense law.

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