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Craft beer industry seeks bill allowing growlers, beer to-go

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - How and where Alabama breweries can sell their beer could change this year. If legislators go for it, local breweries say their businesses can see quite the boom.

The Alabama Law Institute is seeking a bill allowing breweries to sell beer growlers and six-packs.

"You can go to a retailer and buy those things but as a brewery we're not allowed to sell it directly to a consumer, unlike virtually every other state in the United States," said Jay Kissell, co-owner of Salty Nut Brewery.

The craft beer industry is hoping state lawmakers will okay a bill to change that, so they no longer have to explain it to tourists familiar with breweries elsewhere.

"We do have lots of requests from people to sell beer to go," said Jeff Peck, co-owner of Mad Malts. "A lot of times it's from people traveling from other states where off premises sales are allowed."

Oftentimes, local breweries have product for sale at supportive retailers, but their full variety is almost always exclusively at the brewery itself.

Especially with Huntsville emerging as such a craft beer hub, changing the law could change the face of the business for breweries.

"That would improve the beer tourism environment starting to develop here in Huntsville, more people could come from out of town and if they found beer they liked, they could take it back to their hotel room or even back home with them," said Peck.

The market is growing fast, but being behind on state law means they're always trying to keep up with out of market breweries.

"They're producing their beer, and shipping their beer to our market to sell, this puts us on even footing with them," said Kissell, who says the Brewers Guild is optimistic about the changes the possible bill could bring.

"We'd expect some extra revenue to come out of that which would help us grow and expand and make more and better beer," said Peck who believes it would be most beneficial to smaller breweries and help their bottom line tremendously.