Rule requiring breweries to take names of beer buyers on ABC agenda

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The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board on Wednesday is scheduled to consider a new record-keeping rule for breweries and brew pubs who sell beer for customers to take home.

A proposed rule, which was publicized by the ABC Board for public comment, required breweries and brew pubs to record the names, addresses, phone numbers and birth dates for customers who buy beer for off-premises consumption.

The ABC Board discussed the proposed rule at a work session on Sept. 12.

It has drawn some opposition, including from the advocacy group Free the Hops, which called it an unnecessary invasion of privacy, and the Alabama Brewers Guild.

Board Chairman Bubba Lee said after the Sept. 12 work session that he expected the proposal to be changed to require that the sellers record the names and addresses of the customers who buy products to take home, but not their phone numbers and birth dates.

Lee said the requirement to record the names and addresses of buyers is part of the state law and not subject to the board's discretion.

The proposal is available on the ABC Board website.

The Legislature passed a bill this year allowing breweries and brew pubs to sell their beer for off-premises consumption for the first time.

That triggered the rule-making process by the ABC Board.

Under the new law, breweries and brew pubs cannot sell more than 288 ounces to a customer per day.

Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, who sponsored the bill, said earlier this month he thought the proposed rule was an unnecessary burden on breweries and raised privacy concerns for customers.

Nick Hudson, president of Free the Hops, said earlier this month there is no justification for taking customers' names.

Hudson said Alabama wineries have been able to sell to customers for off-premises consumption for years without any such requirement.

The proposed rule would apply to wineries and distilleries, as well as breweries and brew pubs.