If you're a fan of local breweries —of local Virginia breweries— please consider taking a few minutes to register your support of a simple bill currently in front of the Virginia Senate which, if passed and signed, would allow Virginia breweries (almost all of whom are 'craft' breweries) to pour samples for customers at their facilities during tours and to sell beer-to-go.
The Virginia General Assembly is currently in session. There is a bill, SB604, before the Senate that would greatly benefit many of the craft breweries in Virginia. This bill will be heard in the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services committee this Friday, February 10th at 8:30am.
SB604 allows a brewery licensee to sell beer at retail at premises described in the brewery license for on-premises consumption and in closed containers for off-premises consumption. In layman’s terms, production breweries would be allowed to sell pints to customers. If passed, you could tour a Virginia brewery and enjoy a pint afterwards, much like how you can enjoy a glass of wine at a Virginia winery. More importantly, this would put us on even footing with some of our neighboring states.
If you're a Virginia citizen, contact your state Senator and ask them to support SB604. Find your state legislator online: here.
Chairman – Virginia Craft Brewers Guild
The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild is an association of small breweries in Virginia. As a member of a larger state group, the Virginia Manufacturers Association, it brought this alert to the attention of the Brewers Association, the national advocacy group for small breweries in the United States (defined as, among other criteria, producing less than 6 million barrels per year).
UPDATE 29 February 2012.
Committees in both the Virginia House and Senate have unanimously approved the bill. It now goes to the full floors of both.
A hat tip to the many Tweeters who support Virginia beer, and who alerted me and many others to this bill. A list would include, among others, @VA_BeerGeek, @RVABeerMan, @BarlowBrewing, @RobSmithiii, @HopGoddess76, @RVABeerMeister.