A bill that would allow craft breweries in Mississippi to sell beer to go and for drinking at tap rooms has passed the Senate.
Small brewers such as Lazy Magnolia in Kiln, Chandeleur Island Brewing Co. in Gulfport and Biloxi Brewing have been able to offer limited “tastings” after visitors go on a tour of the brewery but they can’t sell any to be taken home.
Although the Senate passed the House version of the bill, its Finance Committee had made some changes.
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Coast breweries seems confident the bill will wind up on Gov. Phil Bryant’s desk.
Chandeleur said it is brewing a mystery brew in honor of HB 1233 to be unveiled July 1, which would be the effective day of the new law. Lazy Magnolia and Biloxi Brewing have posted screen shots of the legislation’s cover sheet.
Matthew McLaughlin, who represents the Mississippi Brewers Guild, called the bill a “very big deal” that could save some small breweries that are in danger of failing.
“It’s been three or four years in the making,” he said. “We’ve built coalitions and grassroots support.”
He said he expects Rep. Jeff Smith, whose Ways and Means Committee amended the bill to allow for larger brewers to buy and operate craft breweries, to accept the Senate changes.
The Senate amendment would allow smaller brewers to buy bigger operations but keep their craft brewery and tap room as well.
Both versions of the bill would allow brewpubs — craft breweries that brew beer for sale on the premises only — to sell beer in “growlers,” a sealable container that holds no more than 128 ounces, for consumption elsewhere.
McLaughlin said the latest amendment also clarified the language that deals with the purchase of breweries.