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Terrapin Beer Company cited for alleged brewery tour violations

Terrapin Beer Company

Terrapin Beer Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you thought the laws in Florida regarding growler size were ridiculous  wait until you here about the laws in Georgia governing tap rooms.

In an article on the online addition of the Athens Banner-Herald, reporter Nick Coltrain breaks the news that Terrapin Beer Company has been, “cited four times recently by the Georgia Department of Revenue for allegedly violating regulations pertaining to brewery tours.”

To clarify for those who are unfamiliar with the regulations cited. In Georgia, breweries are not allowed to sell beer in their tap rooms. Instead, they may conduct “brewery tours” that must last at least two hours. Beer may be served as samples. But, these samples may not exceed 32 oz. Patrons must also be made aware that they do not have to purchase a glass to participate in the tour.

In short, the breweries are allowed to open their taprooms for two hours a day, give a tour of the brewery and serve samples during the “tour.” What most breweries do is to open their tap room for two hours a day, ask patrons to purchase a souvenir glass that includes drink tickets and enjoy their beer.

John Cochran, president and co-owner of Terrapin, has been active in the state legislature trying to repeal these archaic and patently ridiculous laws. Could that have anything to do with the targeting he seems to have received by the Georgia Department of Revenue? That is mere speculation, but it does seem rather fishy that breweries across the state conduct their tours in the exact same manner without visits from the revenuers.

Read the entire Banner-Herald article here: http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2013-11-03/ga-dept-revenue-charges-terrapin-tour-violations

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2013 in Beer News

 

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Florida — Georgia rivalry extends to beer this weekend

Every year about this time, downtown Jacksonville turns into a huge party. Everywhere you look there are signs in orange and blue as well as red and black advertising drink specials and raucous entertainment. Hundreds of RVs roll into the parking lots surrounding Everbank Field. Awnings roll out, and the three day long party begins. It has been dubbed as the “world’s Biggest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” and the reality lives up to the hype. I refer to, of course, the annual gridiron clash of fierce rivals the University of Florida Gators and the University of Georgia Bulldogs that takes place in Jacksonville every year as a matter of tradition.

The history of the Florida – Georgia rivalry is one steeped in tradition, but hazy in its origins. As is to be expected, the two teams do not agree when it all began. Georgia says the rivalry began in 1904 when its football squad played a University of Florida team in Macon, Ga. Georgia dominated the Florida team by a score of 52-0, but this team was not from the University of Florida in Gainesville. It was from one of the four schools that merged to form the modern University of Florida. The first game that is recognized by both schools was played in 1915.

This year the rivalry extends beyond the field and into the pubs, bars, and breweries of Jacksonville with events that pit Florida beers against Georgia beers. The classic rivalry will play out at Northstar Substation Friday, October 26 with brews from Gainesville’s – home town of the Gators – Swamp Head brewery squaring off against the beers of Terrapin Brewery which is situated in Athens, Ga., home of the Bulldogs. Beginning at 4:00 p.m. stop by the downtown bar and restaurant located at 119 East Bay Street to support your favorite brewery. There will be multiple taps for each brewery and representatives as well!

If you are out at the beach and would prefer to keep a bit of distance from the seething masses, you can still participate in a Florida – Georgia rivalry. Green Room Brewing Company will host a tap takeover featuring beers from both states. While there, be sure to try some of the brews produced by the Green Room team right there on-premises. Favorites like Pablo Beach Pale Ale and Double Overhead IPA are sure to please.

Finally, cruise on out to the Southside of town and stop in at Mellow Mushroom in Tinseltown. There you will find another Florida vs. Georgia tap takeover with Terrapin’s founder John Cochran. He will be fielding questions as well as serving up Terrapin’s delicious Pumpkin Fest beer in real hollowed out pumpkins.

See all the beer-centric events happening in Jacksonville at: www.jaxbeerguy.com.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Beer, Craft Beer Brewery, Events

 

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Red Brick Brewing in Atlanta continues a Southern brewing tradition

Red Brick Brewery has quite a story. It began life in 1993 as Atlanta Brewing Company and is the oldest, continuously brewing beer company in the state of Georgia. It has endured copper thieves who stole the wiring out of a box that serviced the brewery’s chiller, nearly ruining a rather large amount of precious beer, and hard times that nearly closed its doors. But, the company, known as Red Brick Brewing since 2005 when current President Robert Budd took over the reins, flourishes regardless of what fate throws at it.

On a sunny and hot Atlanta Saturday afternoon we visited with Budd at the brewery tucked into a warehouse district near Atlanta’s Midtown. After just a few moments it was apparent that we were in for a treat and some very interesting stories. Our conversation ran the gamut of beer, from history to modern practices. And Budd had a story for it all. Budd, you see, is an excellent storyteller.

“We (Americans),” he began. “Were a beer-centric society since the first white man appeared here.” And, indeed that is true by most historical accounts. It has been documented that beer was the beverage of choice on the Mayflower due to unsafe drinking water. The South has a 330 year tradition of brewing beer, and Budd is not about to let that be forgotten. “We are proud of our traditions as a Southern brewer,” he says. But, beer is not always given its due as the social catalyst that it has been. As patrons began arriving for the Saturday afternoon brewery tour, filling the tap room and tables set up in a roped off area of the brewery, that fact was definitely not apparent.

Conversation turned to the subject of beer in Georgia. “Georgia is home to three of the four largest breweries in the South,” Budd said. And with over a third of the nation’s population one would think that Georgia would be leading the pack as far as beer production. But, because of antiquated laws, Budd says that is not the fact of the matter. And it is for that reason that he teamed up with Freddy Bensch of SweetWater and John Cochran of Terrapin to form the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild in 2010. Since forming the Guild, the three have mentored seven breweries in Georgia and look to work with many more.

The local craft brewing community in Atlanta is a tight-knit one Budd says. “We regularly pool our resources to get to the Great American Beer Festival. Usually with SweetWater marshaling the efforts.” This year Red Brick will be entering six beers in the competition; a double IPA, Wee Heavy, their anniversary ale called 17, Laughing Skull and amber ale, their Blond, and HopLanta. In the past Red Brick has been very successful and has procured numerous awards that are proudly displayed on the wall of the tap room.

After sitting and chatting in the tap room for a while, Budd offered a fresh beer and a tour of the facility. Further urging was not required.

The tap room is an airy space with a high ceiling, a glass  wall looking into the brewery at the far end, and a bar near the glass wall. The room was filled with laughing and chatter as eager patrons piled in to taste the brewery’s beers and await the tour later that afternoon. We stopped for refills at the bar and headed through the door into the brewery.

Red Brick looks very much like many other breweries, they have huge stainless steel tanks for fermenting and a few that are wood-clad. They also have a mash tun and brewhouse. But, it is what they do with these tools of the brewing arts that sets them apart and earns them the medals hanging in their tap room. Sipping on the beer provided by Budd, it was apparent that great care and effort has been put into getting things just right.

Over the past few years, red Brick has become known for their anniversary ales and barrel-aged beers. One of note right now is the brewery’s 17th anniversary brew simply known as 17. Before we moved into the brewery, Budd had slipped a couple of these gems into the refrigerator behind the bar and brought them out for us to taste. The brew is an Imperial Brown Ale aged in Jim Beam barrels for a boozy, Bourbon kick that is unmistakable and unbelievably delicious. Dubbed the Brick Mason series, Red Brick’s barrel-aged brews also include Vanilla Gorilla, Old Stock Ale, and their Double IPA.

As we sipped our 17, Budd related another story of the first anniversary ale the brewery produced. The story wound through the back roads of Kentucky, to the streets of New York City, and the freeways of Los Angeles. Along the way there were persnickety Bourbon distillers, Hollywood movie stars, and down home receptionists. Telling the story here just would not do it justice. Suffice to say, the barrels used to age Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon found a home with Red Brick.

After spending an hour and half with Budd, it was time to say goodbye, but not before one last story. Budd spun a story of what his father told him one day, “Son,” he began, “When you get ready to retire, make sure you live close to a brewery.” With a sly smile Budd added. “I did that one better.”

Indeed you did.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Beer, Craft Beer Brewery, Travel

 

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Georgia Begins Sunday Beer Sales

As of yesterday, thirsty Georgians can purchase beer on Sundays after 12:30 PM. According to a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the change was met with enthusiastic beer drinkers lining up to purchase their brews.

Read the whole story at this link:

http://www.ajc.com/news/metro-atlantans-line-up-1234517.html

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in Beer

 

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