Suwanee May Regulate At-Home Brewing Events

A local ordinance is being considered because of a state law that was co-sponsored by a Gwinnett legislator.

Credit: Morguefile.com.
Credit: Morguefile.com.
Suwanee officials are pondering a new ordinance for at-home malt-beverage brewing events, prompted by state legislation.

According to city documents, the ordinance would be patterned after House Bill 99, which was passed by the Georgia General Assembly in May 2013. State Rep. Brett Harrell of Snellville was a co-sponsor of the state bill.

The city ordinance is still in draft form, and has gotten a review by City Council members. Some highlights:

  • Anyone holding a home-brew special event must apply for a permit with the city at least 72 hours in advance of the event. Permits would cost $50;
  • Events could only be held during legal on-premises drinking hours for malt beverages;
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages other than home-brewed malt beverages in the designated event area would be prohibited;
  • Sale to the general public at the event would be prohibited;
  • Open container laws for motor vehicles still apply.
Also, a home-brew special event could not be held in a premise that is otherwise licensed to sell alcoholic beverages, including wine and distilled spirits.

The soonest that Suwanee council officials could vote on a local ordinance regarding home-brew malt-beverage events would be Dec. 17. However, no agenda yet has been released for that meeting.

-- What do you think about such an ordinance being adopted in Suwanee? Tell us in the comments below.

Rosemary Vollmar December 16, 2013 at 02:44 PM
"The soonest that Suwanee council officials could vote on a local ordinance regarding home-brew malt-beverage events would be Dec. 17. However, no agenda yet has been released for that meeting. -- What do you think about such an ordinance being adopted in Suwanee?". This quote is the last paragraph and then the typical question we readers are asked when thinking about commenting on Patch's news articles. I'll get to the question, but firstly there is something that could be more troubling in this article than a city writing an ordinance as the result of the State of Georgia just putting HB 99 into effect on July 1, 2013. Steve Burns, editor, intimated in this article posted on December 16 that the soonest that Suwanee City Council 'could' pass their similar ordinance would be December 17. Burns then writes, "however, no agenda yet has been released for that meeting." Did he mean: 1) that item wasn't placed on an agenda that he saw that WAS posted, 2) there is no Council meeting on Dec. 17., or 3) there IS a City Council meeting Dec. 17 and the agenda ISN'T posted yet? Number 3 is the legally troublesome answer. I am hoping that there was just a 'cut and paste' error during a final read before posting. I just read HB 99, and if Suwanee wants to hold any events that home-brewers would bring up to 25 gallons of their home-made malts for judging and tasting, Suwanee SHALL (not may, but shall) write a city ordinance with rules governing the events. Suwanee also would issue $50.00 permits that would be valid for up to six events for the home-brewer. That permit would have a number on it that also would be on the 'malts', along with the name and address of the brewer, and the name of the event, while in transit to the particular event. HB 99 also says that only those 'malts' can be tasted/consumed at that event, and no other. To me, this sounds like no commercial micro-breweries would be allowed at the same venue. {Home-brewers brew for their own consumption while micro-breweries brew for sales in the brew-pubs, and or stores. Hence, the different statutes governing private vs. commercial.} This GA law has been in effect since July 1, and if Suwanee is just now finalizing its list of events for 2014, they may find that there is more work to be done if they want to have any home-brewer types of events. But, I would suggest that Suwanee would be an excellent city for holding a competition for the home-brewers of the state. I know some home-brewers, and trying out different recipes and ingredients is considered their art form---not their livelihood, like a commercial micro-brewery.
Steve Burns (Editor) December 16, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Rosemary, this article posted on Dec. 11, as is noted under the headline. At that time, no agenda for the Dec. 17 City Council meeting had been released.
Rosemary Vollmar December 16, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Hi Steve, Well, I thought that I had read it earlier, but I didn't remember the part about the agenda when I had seen it earlier. I assumed that the current posting date of the 16th was connected to the "hadn't seen an agenda yet". This information makes me much happier because of that 'troublesome' issue to which I was alluding.


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