By now, buying a pint at a brewery in Georgia seems pretty unremarkable. Just a few years ago, it was a crime.
The Peach State’s brewers were mired in restrictive distribution laws and redundant taxes. As recent as 2016, a brewery paid the state excise taxes for the beer they produced. Visitors to taprooms wanting to drink beer from the source were forced to buy a tour of the facility, in which the state collected taxes on the price of the tour. The beer consumed as part of the tour were “samples” given out for free, up to 32 ounces. The final sting? Breweries then had to submit taxes to the state of Georgia for the free beer they weren’t allowed to charge for, based on the price it would sell for if it was legal to charge the customer for it.
If that sounds excessive, you aren’t alone. These restrictions on on-site beer sales, even hosting a food truck on-site, put Georgia brewery numbers at the bottom per capita in the United States. Meanwhile, wines were sold by the glass and to-go at Georgia wineries with few limitations. The beer industry was suppressed by a government that prided itself on being pro-business.
Finally, in 2017, Georgia took a step out of the stone age with the passage of Senate Bill 85, becoming the 50th state to allow direct sales to consumers. It marked the first forward progress for Georgia beer since 2006 when the state raised the legal alcohol by volume beer limit from 6% to 14%.
The Georgia Craft Brewers Guild (GCBG), which was founded 7 years earlier in 2010, helped move that needle. After all, Georgia was never going to be a beer destination without a group working on behalf of the state’s breweries. Despite the 2017 victory, there’s more work to be done. That brings us to this weekend.
The GCBG is hosting its first full-scale festival at Atlanta’s Atlantic Station. This unique festival will feature 65 Georgia breweries and more than 30 collaborations from across the state. The Guild wants this to be a 250+ beer reminder of what’s exciting about Georgia beer.
“Our hope is to make a premiere spring beer festival that you don’t want to miss,” says Rachel Kiley, COO of Monday Night Brewing and Guild president. “I think of something like Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer in Chicago with a Georgia spin, or something like that,” she adds. “I know getting there will take a while.”
The Georgia Craft Brewers Festival will also serve as a fundraiser for the GCBG, a 501(c)(6) trade organization. The guild doesn’t have the capital to undertake the festival on its own, so they’ve tapped Atlanta Beers Festivals to assist. The guild will get a fraction of the profits to continue its legal and advocacy work on behalf of the burgeoning brewery scene in the state.
Unique to the festival is a “Collab Competition” for all the participating breweries. This Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) sanctioned competition is split into two categories – “Big Beer” (over 7% ABV) and “Little Beer” (under 7% ABV). The judging will take place on Friday, before a special VIP Preview Session and brewer Meet and Greet.
“With the past two years behind us, we want to get back to what we love – Georgia Beer.” Kiley tells us. “This helps the GCBG advance the beer industry for all of us.”
Tickets are still available for the main festival on Saturday, April 2nd, rain or shine.
The 2021 WeldWerks Brew Co. Invitational in Greeley, Colorado has been postponed until 2022 due to mounting COVID-19 surge concerns. This comes after nearly half of the participating breweries either canceled in-person attendance, or were on the fence about going.
This year’s festival was going to take place on October 30th.
“Once we realized that we’d be losing certain aspects of the festival, in addition to the relevant safety concerns, we decided to postpone the festival so that it can be enjoyed to its full effect the following year,” said WeldWerks Director of Experience Jake Goodman.
As of August 24th, Colorado had a 7-day moving average of 1,450 COVID-19 cases statewide.
All ticket holders will be automatically refunded in full for their 2021 tickets. Additionally, anyone that purchased 2021 Invitational tickets will have the first right of refusal for 2022 tickets.
The 2022 WeldWerks Invitational is currently slated for sometime mid-year 2022.
Danny Meyer, founder of Shake Shack and Union Square Hospitality Group, is taking a hard line approach towards guests eating and drinking in their establishments. In-house guests will have to show proof of vaccination to get inside.
Meyer made the announcement on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Thursday afternoon. According to the interview, the mandate will apply to their full service restaurants in New York and Washington D.C.
“We’re following the lead of city, state, and federal government, and we’re going to do this ourselves…. Our full service restaurants in New York City and Washington D.C. to require that all staff members be vaccinated, and also to require guests that want to dine indoors show proof they have been vaccinated.”
When pressed on whether there would be potential legal backlash from employees that don’t want to be forced to get vaccinated, or whether it will motivate employees to leave work, Meyer stated “If that’s the case, that would be sad. We really tried to lead with a carrot for many many months now. It’s been about 150 days that we’ve been truly encouraging people. A vast majority of the Union Square Hospitality Group have been vaccinated.
The Group has given employees 8 hours of paid time off to go receive the vaccination, as well has holding open vaccinations in the restaurants.
However, Meyer alluded to an unemployment ultimatum for the employees not vaccinated within the next 45 days – “We are going to give our employee 45 days. Hopefully this is the incentive [the dual vaccination requirement] to say, “Now I’m going to do it.”
Meyer also went on to say that a Covid-19 vaccination is inline with other hygienic restaurant precautions like gloves and hand washing.
Shake Shack has not made a similar sweeping employee and customer vaccine mandate. Union Square Hospitality Group does not have control of the burger franchise.
“The is the most logical thing I can think of,” Meyer added.
This mandate comes as Covid-19 Delta variants infections are on the rise, seemingly for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
Union Square operates Anchovy Social, Blue Smoke, Caffe Marchio, Cedric’s At The Shed, Ci Saimo, Daily Provisions, Gramery Tavern, Intersect by Lexus, Loball, Mailino, Manhattan, Marta The Modern, and Porchlight, Tacocina, Union Square Cafe, and Vini E Fritti restaurants.
The vaccination mandate goes into effect starting September 7th, 2021.
America’s largest beer festival – The Great American Beer Festival has been officially canceled for the second year in a row.
The Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade organization announced today that despite vaccinations and the country re-opening, that health and safety concerns will still be too great to hold the 60,000 person indoor gathering in 2021. Instead, the Brewers Association plans to host GABF with in-person attendance for the event’s 40th anniversary in 2022.
Despite the in-person event cancelation, GABF and the Brewers Association will host the beer competition portion of the event, just like they did in 2020.
“We are disappointed to cancel the festival portion of GABF for the second year in a row. While we will miss celebrating with beer lovers and our craft brewing community, we are excited to continue with the GABF competition and national passport program this year. We look forward to convening in person for the festival’s 40th anniversary in 2022.” – said Bob Pease, president and CEO for the Brewers Association
Winners of the 2021 competition will be announced on September 10, 2021, at the Colorado Convention Center. live-streamed from the Bellco Theatre on The Brewing Network.
In lieu of the in-person event, the “passport program” will return for a 2nd year, from September 17 through October 17, 2021. The Passport gives the holder exclusive deals at breweries across the U.S. More than 1,100 breweries from all 50 states were a part of the program in 2020. Brewery registration for the 2021 passport program opens June 29 at GreatAmericanBeerFestival.com.
In contrast, the Denver Beer Week, an annual event usually held coinciding with GABF will be held September 9-12.
Additionally, VISIT DENVER is hosting a nine-day celebration of craft beer Starting September 10th.
April Fool’s Day is a big day for brewers. You finally get to drop that joke about a beer so ridiculous you have to know it’s a joke. Minus those brewers that shop the jokes for an actually good “next big thing.”
2021 was pretty heavy on the hard seltzer jokes. In true Stone Brewing fashion, instead of joking about a hard seltzer, they announced they are actually releasing one. You can actually hear the pain in Greg Koch’s voice from here.
In case you missed out of some of the jokes thanks to Instagram’s piss poor algorithm, here’s what yesterday looked like, complete with bad commentary.
Michigan’s Founders Brewing is threatening to make beers glittery again. The name is on point.
Everything Bagel Hard Seltzer from Funky Buddha. Honestly, since it’s Funky Buddha, there’s a 60% chance this bad breath maker is real. 75% chance they will make it this year. 99% chance I would drink it because I hate myself.
California’ Bear Republic’s “Bear Claw” Hard Seltzer. Comes in Plain, Hop Backward (Hop-Free), Mango (with no mango added), and Cherry (Not real cherries just additives). Next up, “Bear Claw” Pastry Stout that ships with a fork.
Old Town Glowstick Glowy IPA. Made with 300 lbs of fluorescent jellyfish. No word on what it does to your pee.
Alabama’s Trim Tab introduces the Brew Canoe 2-Pack made for you and your fellow paddler. Would be great for Valentine’s Day.
Crux Fermentation Project’s no alcoholic seltzer, Lacrux. The name wins.
Steve Austin and El Segundo Brewing is dropping the 2nd Steve Austin collaboration, a hard seltzer with bananas. 3.16% ABV. And that’s the bottom line…
New Holland is making sure the squirrels aren’t left out. Introducing the .6 ounce beer that’s a little nutty.
Mother’s Brewing Company is just asking to get sued by Amazon for their drone idea. The jokes on Mothers Brewing. They ACTUALLY pay taxes every year… #BezosPleaseStillDeliverMyShit
America’s #1 selling hard seltzer is creating cans that will tell fellow party-goers where you land on the 6 feet thing. In cinnamon, green apple, and all new hand sanitizer flavors.
Richmond, Virginia’s The Answer makes some really off-the-wall beers with weird shit. So much so, them making a Funyans beer could ACTUALLY be real. It’s only sold by the case at 1 am. It’s dosed with 500mg of sugar and extra yeast to make it EXTRA splodey. Pickups are by the dumpster.
Asheville, North Carolina will be home to Green Man’s new Peeps flavored IPAs. But then again, could be a hoppy, diabetic nightmare coming to actual taps soon.
We’ve drank with the guys that created 10 Barrel Brewing. It’s an aggressive experience. That’s why I would put money on the fact that someone at the brewery has actually made this punch before, and is still getting the puke stains out of the carpet.
AMF is a canned cocktail with vodka, gin, rum, tequila, sour mix, blue curacao, lemon-lime soda, and cherry juice. Just 22.3% ABV.
Let’s be real. One of y’all has actually made this before.
“Adios motherf%$ckers!” – 10 Barrel Brewing
Champion Brewing channels either Clint Eastwood or Chewbacca with the beer can party sling.
Only sold at Spencer Gifts next to the Marilyn Manson posters.
Monday Night Brewing Narwater is a real hard seltzer line by the brewery. BBQ Ranch flavor is not…. yet. I mean… brewers have already used chicken wings, so why is this a stretch?
Charleston, South Carolina has a mega-merger by the sea. Holy City Brewing and Frothy Beard will now be known as Frothy City Brewing.
The best part of Hop Valley’s post? The hashtag. #PleaseDon’tMakeUsBrewThis
Indy Brewing Boner Emoji Beer. It’s a sour.
Three Taverns is Belgian-inspired. But apparently, they are pivoting to Italian. This is Prepastarous. (But it’s a lager, so it’s ok.)
Finally, the kings and queens of adjunct brewing in Georgia made the public statement they will stop putting candy fruit and lactose in their beers. This comes a week after announcing a 2nd location in the state, complete with a lactose silo.
Chances are, some of these will be actually released this summer. See you in line.
St. Louis, Missouri-based Schlafly Brewing is releasing Hoptic Visions, a variety pack featuring four different India pale ale styles.
This is the second release of the mixed pack, which includes three new Schlafly creations:
- India Pale Ale (5.0% ABV): Schlafly’s sessionable IPA is a classic hop-forward, golden-hazed beer that features notes of citrus and tropical flavors.
- Hazy Grapefruit IPA (5.0% ABV): This juicy IPA adds pounds of real fruit for an added complexity. Schlafly amplifies the grapefruit with complementing Cascade and Simcoe hops.
- Low Cal IPA (ABV 4.0%): Clocking in at 110 calories, the new Low Cal IPA sways to the lighter side but is still packed with juicy hop flavor.
- West Coast IPA (6.0% ABV): A throwback IPA that sparked the love of hops, Schlafly’s West Coast IPA packs a bitter citrus and pine punch.
The Low Cal IPA is Schlafly’s first foray into the lower-calorie IPA category, while the Hazy Grapefruit IPA is brand new for 2021.
The Schlafly Hoptic Visions IPA Pack is available at all brewery locations, across their distribution footprint for $17.99.
Creature Comforts Allagash Get Comfortable 2020