Should Mississippi craft brewers be allowed on-site sales?

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Alcohol sales in Pearl River County sit right on the line of state laws.

Technically, we live in a dry county; but if you step foot in a municipality you can buy beer at just about any grocery store or gas station.

However, if you would like a sip of something more potent, you have to patronize one of the few businesses within the city limits of Picayune that have secured a liquor by the drink permit.

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To bring a bottle of liquor home anywhere in this county is technically still against the law.

These contradictions are rampant across Mississippi. Of our state’s 82 counties, about half are still dry, even though Prohibition was repealed in the state in 1966.

But that hasn’t prevented entrepreneurs from setting up craft breweries, the closest of which is located in Kiln.

Things are changing slowly. In addition to more craft breweries opening their doors and boosting economic development in  this state, legislation is being discussed that would allow them to sell their products directly to customers, for consumption at the brewery and at home.

Currently, brewers can’t sell their products to visitors at the brewery, even if the brewery offers tours, which most do.

Last month the Mississippi Brewers Guild and Mississippi Beer Distributors Association announced they are working on a bill for consideration during the 2017 Legislative session.

Restrictions are outlined in the bill, such as how much beer can be sold to visitors directly.

Additionally, taxes will be collected from those sales.

If our elected officials are interested in bolstering this state’s economic development, they should not only be looking for ways to bring in manufacturing and retail industries, they should also support methods to bolster growth of craft breweries, another employer of Mississippians.