Alabama lawmakers have passed several updates to the state’s alcoholic beverage laws in recent years. Craft beer fans rightly praise the legislature for bringing Alabama law up-to-date with an evolving industry. However, the real work of regulating Alabama’s alcoholic beverage industry falls to the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. They do this, in part, by adopting rules and regulations.
The ABC recently submitted eight proposed changes to these regulations for public comment. Alabama’s craft brewers welcome many aspects of these proposals. Craft brewers even suggested some of them. The Guild regularly interacts with ABC officials, who are always professional and interested in discussing regulatory issues with us.
The consumer data collection provision
Free the Hops, a consumer organization, recently expressed strong disappointment to one sentence of these proposals. To be clear: we also oppose this provision, which would require brewers and distillers to collect the personally identifiable information of our visitors and report that information to the state. We appreciate the privacy concerns, and we believe it would create an unnecessary burden to business.
The reason for this provision is to enforce a transaction limit imposed by law. Individuals may not purchase more than 288 ounces a day from a brewery, and this provision would help the ABC Audit Division to ensure compliance. The ABC is trying to do their job, and we understand the reasoning. However, we believe there are less invasive ways to ensure compliance.
We look forward to working with the ABC during this process, and we will be submitting written input during the public comment period.