Our editorial director, Austin L. Ray, lives in Atlanta, which means I’ve had plenty of reasons to spend some time down there over the past few years getting to know the city through his perspective—its food, music and, of course, its beer.
Recently, I watched as Austin’s life as a beer drinker in the state of Georgia was dramatically changed with the passage of a new law that enabled breweries to sell their beer directly to drinkers in their own taprooms, over their own bars, and out their own doors.
For some breweries, it’s an opportunity for incremental sales. For others, it’s an evolution of their business plan. And for those that are in the process of opening new breweries, it’s a chance to introduce entirely new business models for making and selling beer in the state of Georgia.
It’s been about six months since the laws passed, which has given everyone—brewers and drinkers alike—some time to get used to the new normal. And by all accounts, it’s been a pretty exciting time full of new opportunities and some hard lessons. It’s also inspiring new thinking about the future.
Austin helped me put together a group of folks, all with a unique perspective on the state of Georgia beer, to talk about their role in the changes, and what they’re going to do next.
My guests in this roundtable are:
Bob Sandage from Wrecking Bar, a brewpub with its own farm who recently started can sales for the first time ever.
Nick Purdy from Wild Heaven Beer, who said he wouldn’t have signed the lease for his expansion without the new laws being signed.
Brian Purcell of Three Taverns in Decatur who’s now getting lines down the block for new releases and considering an off-site taproom to build the brand.
And most importantly, Nancy Palmer, Executive Director of the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild, who was perhaps most responsible for getting the new legislation enacted on behalf of her constituents, and seems to have not lost a moment working on what’s next. This week, Nancy also won the prestigious F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award from the Brewers Association, largely in recognition of those successful efforts.
It’s a helluva group to chat about the future of beer with. Listen in.