Approved ‘growler bill’ is opening doors for breweries, providing growth opportunities

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. —  Growlers to go will soon be an opportunity at breweries across Alabama, thanks to a signature from Governor Robert Bentley.

Marshall County’s only brewery is growing quickly, and the owners say the approval of this bill will create even more opportunities.

Main Channel Brewing company in Guntersville is growing fast since it opened its doors a few months ago, constantly filled with locals and visitors to the area. With Governor Bentley’s signature on what has been casually dubbed the ‘growler bill,’ Main Channel has a whole new set of opportunities in front of it. “It kind of changes things up a little bit,” co-owner Brett Smith explains, “We’re excited about it, but we didn’t plan on it when we wrote our original business plan because it wasn’t a law at the time, so we’re happy about it but we have to increase production and get some growlers in.”

Beginning June 1, many of the state’s breweries will be able to sell 288 ounces to a customer — that’s about a case of beer — to go. Smith says the unexpected opportunity will help the brewery grow. “It’s a revenue stream that we didn’t plan for, so it’s just an additional source of money. We just hired our first individual. There’s going to be more to come because of this,” Smith says.

The city of Guntersville has an ordinance in place that follows the state law, so on June 1, Main Channel will be ready. “It’s an extra revenue stream, and extra viability, and extra stuff that we can take to the bank so that we can grow more, produce more, and just do more of everything,” Smith explains.

House Bill 176 also allows breweries to donate two kegs of its beer to a licensed charity. Also, brewpubs no longer have to open strictly in historic buildings or districts.

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