Governor Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1397, nicknamed the "Liquor Omnibus" bill, into law on Wednesday, and though you might not realize it yet, the new law could directly impact you -- particularly if you like to drink craft beer.
That's because one of the biggest changes the bill will bring to the state concerns the regulations on growlers, as in those 64-ounce refillable jugs of beer that you've been able to get filled at any bar in the state since the enactment of the AZ Growler Law in 2012.
SB 1397 has removed the mandate that growlers must be made of glass. Moving forward, Arizona microbreweries and customers will be able to use growlers made of any material approved by a national sanitation organization. Those materials include stainless steel, ceramic and other nonporous, sanitary materials.
And on the liquor side of things, there's more good news.
SB 1397 creates a new Craft Distillers License that should make it easier for those trying to break into Arizona's fledgling micro-distilling scene. The annual cap for craft distillers is set at 20,000 gallons a year -- much higher than the originally proposed cap of 2,378 gallons, which had at least one of the state's distillers pretty upset.
But the law still isn't considered a total win by the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. The organization is unhappy with the standing production cap for microbrewers : the annual limit of production stands at 1,240,000 gallons -- that's 40,000 barrels of beer -- per year. If a brewery produces more they're required to obtain a producer's license, which then puts limitations on retail sales.
According to the guild, some of the state's bigger producers, including Four Peaks and SanTan Brewery, are on the verge of reaching that cap and may be forced to close their restaurants and tasting rooms unless the law is changed. They intend to work on raising that cap during the next legislative session.
You can read the entire bill for yourself on the Arizona Legislature website.
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