By Tasnim Shamma
Today is the deadline for Gov. Nathan Deal to sign or veto bills that state lawmakers passed earlier this year. He signed 58 bills into law on Monday.
The first one he signed, Senate Bill 85, allows craft breweries to sell up to 3,000 barrels of beer per year directly to consumers.
“When you visit a brewery, you’re going to be able to give them money and they’ll give you beer and that’s actually a pretty big change from what we’ve been able to do in the past,” said Nancy Palmer, executive director of the Georgia Craft Brewer’s Guild.
In the past, you could purchase only a limited amount of beer at the breweries and liquor distilleries, and it was only after you had taken a tour.
Now, patrons can drink unlimited amounts of beer on site at breweries, and each customer can purchase up to a case of beer (288 ounces total) per day to take off site. Previously, the limit was 72 ounces. Breweries will also be able to sell food onsite as well.
Distilleries will be allowed to sell 2,250 milliliters or about three bottles of beer to patrons.
The Georgia Craft Brewer’s Guild estimates there are 48 breweries and brew pubs and 17 distilleries in the state.
Palmer said Georgia is the last state in the U.S. to allow these direct taproom sales.
Deal also signed a bill expanding the definition of “domestic terrorism.” The new law includes attacks on critical infrastructure, and it includes mandatory minimum sentences for anyone convicted.
Another new state law makes it illegal to refuse credit or financial services to someone because they own or sell firearms and ammunition.
Deal is expected to sign three criminal justice bills in Macon this morning. Bills that Deal doesn’t sign or veto by midnight automatically become law.