Senate passes bill allowing on-site craft brewery sales

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The Senate has approved a bill allowing on-site beer sales at craft breweries.

Craft brewers are one legislative step away from being allowed to sell their beer on the premises of breweries themselves.

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would allow Mississippi breweries to sell their own beer by bulk (up to 576 ounces per day per customer, or about two cases of beer) and in on-site brewpubs, where visitors can order and drink beer on the premises.

The bill now moves back to the House for concurrence on slight amendments made by the Senate. If approved there, it will head to the governor’s desk for signature.

Proponents of the bill, both Republicans and Democrats, believe the bill will increase tourism and level the playing field for Mississippi breweries.

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Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson

“This bill would really give our state’s breweries a chance to draw people in and make a good impression on folks,” said Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, who co-sponsored a similar bill this session. “I’m optimistic we can get the law changed this year. It’s been a bipartisan effort from the beginning.”

Craft brewery advocates have long argued the need for the legislation. All four neighboring states allow on-site sales at breweries.

Mississippi’s three traditional beer distributors have supported the bill, clearing a powerful lobbying hurdle for the craft brewers.

“There’s been a lot of work in the offseason to bring together other parties affected, particularly distributors,” Blount said. “Everyone has been on the same page, and this is a good thing for the state.”

Just eight senators voted against the legislation Thursday. In early February, the House voted 94-23 to pass the bill.