Beer in Alabama
||This article lacks historical information on the subject. Specifically: Article is biased toward current events. All information from before 2006 is relegated to bullet lists. (May 2012)|
There are twenty-one active breweries in the state of Alabama. For much of the 20th century, and until the law was changed in 2009, beer with an alcohol content greater than 6% (alcohol by volume) was unlawful in the state, primarily due to Prohibition-era laws remaining unrepealed. The Brewery Modernization Act was signed into law in 2011, reforming many former restrictions on breweries' ability to provide a tap room and restrictive regulations regarding brewpubs. The Legal ABV limit of beer in Alabama is currently 13.9%. According to The New Yorker when discussing beer production, "from 2011 to 2012, annual production grew faster in the South than just about anywhere else, with the fastest-growing producers including Alabama (first out of all fifty states)..."
There are twenty-one active breweries in Alabama:
- Avondale Brewing Company in Birmingham, Alabama
- Back Forty Beer Company in Gadsden, Alabama
- Beer Engineers in Birmingham, Alabama
- Below the Radar Brewhouse in Huntsville, Alabama
- Black Warrior Brewing Company in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
- Blue Moose Cafe & Brewpub in Cullman, AL
- Blue Pants Brewery in Madison, Alabama
- Cahaba Brewing Company in Birmingham, Alabama
- Chattahoochee Brewing in Phenix City, Alabama
- Cheaha Brewing Company in Anniston, Alabama
- Druid City Brewing Company in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
- Fairhope Brewing Company in Fairhope, Alabama
- Folklore Brewing and Meadery"Folklore Brewery and Meadery". Retrieved 2013-10-15.</ref> in Dothan, Alabama
- Good People Brewing Company in Birmingham, Alabama
- Old Black Bear Brewing Company in Huntsville, Alabama
- Patriot Joe's Brew in Anniston, Alabama
- Railyard Brewing Company in Montgomery, Alabama
- Rocket Republic Brewing  in Madison, Alabama
- Salty Nut Brewery in Huntsville, Alabama
- Straight to Ale, LLC brewing company in Huntsville, Alabama
- The Brew Stooges Brewing Company brewing company in Huntsville, Alabama
- Trim Tab Brewing in Birmingham, Alabama
- Yellowhammer Brewing in Huntsville, Alabama
Formerly active breweries in Alabama:
- Olde Towne Brewing Company in Huntsville, Alabama ceased brewing in 2011.
- Alabama Brewing Company, operated by Isadore Newman, Arthur Isnard and A. Cammack from 1897 to 1908 (and manufacturing ice until 1917)
- Barrett's Brewpub and Eatery, 1990's
- Birmingham Brewery/Philipp Schillinger Brewing Company, operated in Birmingham by Philipp Schillinger and his sons from 1884 to 1908
- Birmingham Brewing Company, operated by W. I. Rushton from 1889 to 1893
- Birmingham Brewing Company, operating from 1992 to 1998. Its brands, Vulcan and Red Mountain, continued to be contract-brewed until 2001.
- Breckenridge Brewery, 1990s
- Dothan Brewing Co., operating in 2006 in Dothan
- Hurricane Brewing Co, Operating 2006-2009 in Mobile
- Little Star/Mad Monk, late 1990s
- Magic City Brewery, brew pub operating from 1995 to 2000 in Birmingham
- Mr. Jim's Cannon Brewpub, operating from 2004-2006 in Mobile
- Montgomery Brewing Co operated from 1995-2010 in Montgomery
- Olde Auburn Ale House in Auburn, Alabama was in operation from February 2000 until 2009, when its brewery was contracted out to a company in Atlanta. From that point, the microbrews sold at the Ale House were produced in Atlanta.
- Poplar Head Mule Company, operating from 1995-2002 in Dothan.
- Port City Brewery, first brewpub in Alabama, 1990s
- Southside Cellar, operating in the mid-late 1990s
- Vulcan Breweries, operating in Birmingham in the late 1990s
The Code of Alabama defines beer as being fermented malt liquor containing between 0.5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and 13.9% ABV. Before 2009, beer in Alabama was limited to 6% ABV or less. The only other states with similarly low limits were Mississippi, and West Virginia.
Beer, except draft or keg beer, sold by retailers must be sold or dispensed in bottles, cans or other containers not to exceed 25.4 ounces (750 ml). Prior to the passage of legislation in 2012, container size was limited to 16 ounces.
Brewpubs in Alabama must be located in an historic building or site, in a wet county or wet municipality, in which county beer was brewed for public consumption prior to the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1919.
By law, beer brewed by a brewpub cannot be possessed, sold or dispensed except on the premises where it is brewed. Brewpub beer also cannot be packaged or contained in other than barrels from which the beer is to be dispensed.
The brewpub must contain and operate a restaurant with a seating capacity of not less than 80.
"Free The Hops" movement
In 2006 and 2007 a grassroots lobbying organization called "Free The Hops" introduced bills in the state House and Senate, intending to raise the limit on beer to 13.9% ABV. The bill was passed and signed into law in May 2009.
The movement to raise the ABV limit on beer in Alabama followed similar movements in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Those states also had 5% and 6% ABV limits on beer until recently: Georgia raised their ABV limit to 14% in 2004, North Carolina raised to 15% in 2005, and South Carolina raised to 17.5% in 2007.
On May 9, 2012, the Alabama house passed Senate Bill 294, allowing the sale of beer containers up to 25.4 ounces, effective August 1, 2012, into law. Governor Robert Bentley signed the bill on May 16, 2012.
On May 9, 2013 Alabama governor Bentley signed HB9 into law,  allowing Alabama residents to legally homebrew beer. Alabama became the 49th state to legalize homebrewing. Mississippi's legislature passed a law to legalize homebrewing, however it took effect months after Alabama's law did. Alabama residents are limited to 15 gallons of production per quarter and no more than 15 gallon on premises at one time. Residents of dry counties, dry municipalities, minors and convicted felons are still prohibited from producing homebrewed beer.
Formed in 2009, the Alabama Brewers Guild exists to promote the common interests of its members and the craft brewing industry in Alabama. The core membership of the guild consists of licensed Alabama breweries and brewpubs actively engaged in the brewing of craft beer at a facility located in the state of Alabama.
- Fromson, Daniel. "Idea of the Week: Mapping the Rise of Craft Beer". Retrieved 2013-06-07.
- "Avondale Brewing". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Back Forty Beer Co.". Retrieved 2013-07-19.
- "Beer Engineers". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Below the Radar Brewhouse". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Black Warrior Brewing Company". Retrieved 2013-11-22.,
- "Blue Moose Cafe & Brewpub on Facebook". 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
- "Blue Pants Brewery". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Cahaba Brewing". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Chattahoochee Brewing company". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Cheaha Brewing Company". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Druid City Brewing Company on Facebook". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Fairhope Brewing". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Good Brewing Company". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Old Black Bear Brewing Company". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Heroes An American Grille with in-house Patriot Joes's Ales". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Railyard Brewing Company". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Rocket Republic Brewing". Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- "Salty Nut Brewery". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Straight to Ale Brewery". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "The Brew Stooges on Facebook". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Trim Tab Brewing on Facebook". 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
- "Yellowhammer Brewing". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Birmingham Brewing Company". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "The Olde Auburn Ale House on Facebook". Retrieved 2013-07-13.
- "Alabama Gov. Bentley signs bigger beer container bill into law | al.com". Blog.al.com. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
- "Free The Hops Success so far". Retrieved 2013-07-19.
- Bran Strickland / The Anniston Star (2010-03-10). "Craft beer market coming into its own around the area". The Anniston Star.
- Join Together Staff (2004-06-20). "Georgia Raises Maximum Alcohol Content for Beer". The Partnership at Drugfree.org.
- "Pop The Cap". Retrieved 2013-07-19.
- "Pop The Cap South Carolina; SC Laws". Retrieved 2013-07-19.
- Harris, Gabe. "Governor Bentley Has Signed Gourmet Bottle Bill". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/05/gov_robert_bentley_signs_home.html Robert Bentley signed HB9 into law
- Birmingham Beverage Company. "The History of Brewing in Alabama". - accessed April 26, 2010