An Athens brewery finds out this week whether or not Athens officials will bring a case against it or not.
Creature Comforts Brewery is facing a potential fine or suspension of license after a police report was filed last month based on an anonymous tip claiming the brewery is not giving away tours, but is giving away free alcohol, according to an Athens Banner-Herald article.
The possible legal action against the brewery comes succeeding it being named one of Georgia’s Small Business Rock Stars.
Following the anonymous tip, a sergeant with Athens-Clarke County Police who handles alcohol law enforcement decided to investigate the claim, according to the article.
Sgt. Laura Lusk attended a Creature Comforts Brewery event and was in fact given free alcohol, but was not instructed on when a tour would take place. Lusk said in the police report that she went to one bar and received a 6-ounce glass of beer and then to another and got the same, but there was no indication or signs of any tours going on during her time at the event, according to the article.
Georgia Senate Bill 63, which went into effect on July 1, states breweries are allowed to sell guided distillery tours of their manufacturing space, which allows the consumer free tastings of up to 36 ounces for consumption on the premises and the ability to leave with a free, sealed souvenir of “malt beverages with a total liquid capacity that does not exceed 72 ounces.”
In order to do the tasting and receive the complimentary alcohol, customers must go on a tour. Section 8 of the bill states breweries can have promotional and educational tours “free of charge or for a fee,” which can include free tastings, but the bill also states “free souvenirs shall only be provided after the brewery tour and only to individuals who have attended a brewery tour on the same calendar day.”
The bill also states that free tastings and food may be provided before, during, and after a brewery tour.
The county attorney’s office is reviewing the case for a potential administrative hearing on charges against the establishment’s license, according to Athens Banner-Herald. Athens-Clarke County Attorney Bill Berryman told Atlanta TV station 11 Alive that he will make a decision on what to do this week.
Creature Comforts, located at 271 West Hancock Avenue in Athens, is in a 13,000 square foot historic warehouse building in downtown Athens. The building was originally built in the 1940s as a Chevy dealership and later became Snow Tire Co., before Creature Comforts took over.
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