In our current column in Motif, we noted that the General Assembly had considered bills “proposing a small bump to 384 ounces -– a case of 24 tallboys –- and unlimited sales, but they didn’t gain traction.” But we’re thrilled to report that the tide turned after that column went to press a coupla weeks ago! A bill raising the beer-to-go limit was passed by the Senate and House — on the third anniversary of the signing of the last significant 401 beer biz legislation. Here’s the info from the State House publicist:
Sen. Felag’s bill that raises amount of beer directly sold by breweries to customers passes General Assembly
Sen. Walter S. Felag’s (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) legislation (2019-S 0620) that would increase the amount of beer sold directly to customers by breweries was passed by the General Assembly tonight [June 28].
“Rhode Island’s craft brewery industry has been a true bright spot in Rhode Island’s resurgence from the Great Recession and this legislation will ensure that this promising and successful industry continues to grow within Rhode Island’s borders. This bill will allow our breweries to better compete with those in our surrounding states and continue the growth we have witnessed in a very short amount of time,” said Senator Felag.
The legislation raises craft beer limits for sale so Rhode Island’s brewing industry continues to grow. It allows breweries to sell a full case of 24 beers. If they produce 12-ounce cans or bottles, the brewery’s limit on the amount of beer sold remains the same. If the brewery produces 16-ounce cans or bottles, as many of the craft breweries do, the limit increases to a full case of 24 16-ounce bottles or cans.
The proposal seeks to allow additional growth in an industry that has recently gone from 14 to 30 craft breweries due to an earlier law addressing the same issue.
[Updated @ 1:05 pm] The new limit isn’t in effect yet. Since the bill is being transmitted to Governor Raimondo after the adjournment of the General Assembly adjournment, it will become effective after 10 days after it’s sent [though she can sign it sooner]. So follow the brewers’ socials, they’ll be trumpeting the availability of bigger cases when they’re good to go!
It’s a small but encouraging bump for the burgeoning Rhode Island beer world. Here’s hoping for more legislative advances in 2020!!