By Geoff Pender | Clarion Ledger
Mississippi’s burgeoning craft brewing industry and beer distributors are at odds over brewers wanting to sell directly to customers who visit them.
The state’s temperance laws, dating to the post-Prohibition 1930s, require a “three-tiered” system. Beer manufacturers must use a distributor to sell to stores and restaurants. “Brewpub” restaurants are allowed to sell beer they make for on-premises drinking, and breweries can provide free samples. But they cannot sell beer for off-site consumption.
Craft breweries, of which the state has eight after changes in laws in recent years, say they don’t want to disrupt this system but would like to sell a limited amount, as 46 states allow.
“We are not trying to break new ground here,” said Quinby Chunn, owner of Southern Prohibition Brewing in Hattiesburg. “I don’t want a handout. I don’t want a tax break, and I don’t want to disrupt the three-tiered system. … This would be a win for us and a win for the distributors. The people who try it will buy it at a grocery store or restaurant next time.”
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