Wild Heaven Interview – SB63

Who do your representatives, well, represent?

We’ve written before on the efforts to modernize the laws regarding beer in Georgia[1] and our support for it.[2] Since that time, multiple other groups have done the same, and popular support has been rising. We have been fortunate to have an interview with Wild Heaven Brewery founder Nick Purdy discussing the background and issues at hand.[3] You should really take the 15m to watch the interview when you have the time, and get it straight from one of the folks involved with the business. He provides a lot of good insight into how the industry works, and the numbers and issues involved.

In case you don’t have the time to listen or read one of our other references below, the numbers of jobs and revenue on the table are impressive. They propose to achieve this (as other states have already) without a single subsidy or handout from you, the taxpayer. Wineries in Georgia already enjoy the requested regulatory climate,
and the three-tier system has not collapsed. There is no evidence (based on many other states’ experience) that allowing beer brewers to operate according to the rules in place for wineries will have any impact on the system. In fact, the local breweries have explicitly said they support the three-tier system, as it allows them to compete against larger, more established companies.

So, based on the facts, who is opposing this? His name is Martin Smith. He is a lobbyist. I know most of you will be confused by my attributing everything to him, but what choice do I have? The distributors have declined to go on record opposing the proposed law when given the opportunity.[4] By contrast, the members of the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild (the lobbying group for the breweries) have individually and publicly supported it.

Right now, the proposed legislation is stuck in committee. Word is, it will not be allowed to come to a vote.[5] Why not? If there is an issue with the bill, why not explain the problem and vote it down?

Tom Taylor, one of DeKalb’s own local representatives, is the vice-chair of the House Regulated Industries committee, which handles this kind of topic. It is my understanding that in the past he has proposed similar legislation, and supports this in concept. I cannot confirm or deny this, as we invited him to do an interview with us on the subject, and while he initially agreed, he later declined to follow through. Since he has extensive experience in these matters, I would encourage my fellow DeKalb residents to reach out to him,[6] and allow him to help us understand why the bill is stuck in the Senate counterpart of his committee.

I would also recommend reaching out to your state senator and the members of the Senate committee[7] to voice your opinion.