Report: Brewpubs should be able to sell 'growlers-to-go'

January 23, 2014 

A state Senate investigation of alcoholic beverage tastings and brewpubs concluded that such events and establishments are crucial for economic development, and that cities and counties should continue to make their own policies on such things.

However, the report from the six senators on a blue-ribbon study committee does recommend some policies to the locals.

For one, retailers should be allowed to conduct tastings of wine and beer. Also, brewpubs should be able to sell diners “growlers to-go” -- refillable beer bottles up to 64 ounces. The panel also suggests that Georgia wineries should be able to blend their own wine with spirits in order to make “fortified wine.”

State Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson, one of the six investigators, is already on it.

His Senate Bill 303 would allow dry cities and counties to skip gathering signatures before a referendum to allow spirit manufacture or sales and simply direct the election superintendent to hold a vote.

Senate Bill 286 by state Sen. Jack Murphy, R-Cumming, handles the fortified wine recommendation.

Neither bill is yet scheduled for a hearing.

Rural hospital feud reaches Dublin

Former state House Minority Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin, who is now the state Democratic Party chairman, criticized state Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, who earlier this week said some rural hospitals need to close.

In a written statement, he first blasted Republicans for failing to support a Medicaid expansion, then accused them of neglecting every place but metro Atlanta.

“And now their solution for health care is to shut down hospitals if they’re not located in Metro Atlanta. They really just don’t care,” Porter wrote.

Bail bondsmen welcomed to elected office

House Bill 805, filed by state Rep. Howard Maxwell, R-Dallas, would allow elected officials except sheriffs to engage in the bail bond business. Right now, elected officials cannot be in that business.

The proposal brings together some unusual allies. State Rep. Nikki Randall, D-Macon, is a co-sponsor.

No hearing is yet scheduled for the bill.

-- Maggie Lee

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