Local craft beer fans may soon be able to bring home growlers from certain restaurants.
On Thursday, the Forsyth County commission voted 4-0, with Commissioner Brian Tam absent, to allow brewpubs, or restaurants that brew their own beer, to sell growlers, which typically resemble a glass jug, of beer brewed on premises directly to customers.
Previously, county rules meant customers could only buy such beer while eating at a restaurant or from a store that fills growlers and had it on tap. The local ordinance mirrors a change at the state level that had previously prohibited the sale.
“I think certain members of the brewpub industry have approached the board and said, ‘We’re at a competitive disadvantage, because we can’t do this and would like you to think about modifying your code,’” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said.
Though approved to sell growlers to customers, it may take a bit longer for customers to buy the beer. The Cherry Street Taproom has a license to sell on the premises, but will need a separate package sales license, similar to any other store that sells packaged beer.
Speaking in favor of the change was Nick Tanner, founder and brew master of Cherry Street Brewing Cooperative, the county’s only brewpub. He said craft beer is becoming more popular in the state.
“It’s a rapidly growing industry in the country, and especially in Georgia. Georgia is behind, but Georgia’s catching up,” Tanner said. “There are about five [places] in the state that allow brewpubs to sell growlers.”
The process may be easier for any future brewpubs locating in Forsyth.
“We’ve never done this before in Forsyth County, and a new brewpub would probably be able to buy all of their licenses at the same time,” Jarrard said. “They have sort of piecemealed their’s together because they’ve sort of been on the cutting edge of these initiatives.”