Alabama beer sale changes spark privacy debate
The Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board introduced a proposal that would require breweries and brewpubs that sell beer for off-premise consumption to record sensitive information.
If you plan on buying beer in Alabama, you might need to fork over more than your money in return, if some state regulators have their way.
Recently, the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board introduced a proposal that would require breweries and brewpubs that sell beer for off-premise consumption to record the name, address, telephone number and date of birth of the purchaser. These details would also be subject to verification by the board.
Some industry groups—including the Alabama grassroots organization Free the Hops, which fought to create more craft brewing opportunities in the conservative state—say this gathering of sensitive information would be an invasion of privacy, not to mention a logistical nightmare.
“The implications of this should be highly concerning, not only to craft beer consumers, but to all people throughout the state,” says Nick Hudson of Free the Hops in a statement. “As nonsensical as it might seem, this rule would essentially empower the ABC Board to come to an individual’s house to confirm his or her purchase of a six pack of beer. One can’t help but ask, why? The members of Free the Hops fully oppose this proposed rule. It represents an unprecedented, unnecessary and overreaching invasion of privacy.”
The proposed changes come on the heels of a new law that went into effect June 1 allowing the state’s breweries to sell six packs, large bottles and growlers for the first time.
The Alabama Brewers Guild told the Associated Press the board says it would use the rule to enforce this new law, including the built-in 288-ounce limit, the amount of beer anyone can purchase at one time.
In a tweet, Alabama State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw commented on the proposal: “Not legislative intent. Burden on Breweries and Consumer; we will fix in 2017 Session if not rescinded.”
The board has not publicly commented on why it wants to collect this information, but will consider the changes at a meeting Sept. 28. Comments on the proposal are being accepted through Sept. 7.