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Distillers asking for fewer restrictions
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ATLANTA — A bipartisan group of state legislators is backing a measure that would make it easier for Georgia distillers to turn fruits and grains into liquor.
State Sen. Johnny Grant, R-Milledgeville, says Georgia code already allows distilling but that his proposal would clarify the law.
The measure would spell out that distilling grain is legal and would allow distilling in communities where liquor is sold by the drink. Distilling is currently permitted only in communities where package sales have been approved.
Industry advocates say small distilleries are on the verge of a takeoff as drinkers seek boutique brands.
Georgia Distilling co-owner Bill Mauldin says Georgia has a rich history in distilling but “has been slow to embrace what is a huge moneymaker for folks like Colorado, California and New York. He and others are rallying behind Grant’s proposal.
There has been no vocal opposition to the proposal, Senate Bill 114, although Georgia Conservatives in Action said it is monitoring the measure’s progress through the statehouse.
Grant, meanwhile, is hoping it can win passage despite the scrutiny of Sunday sales of alcohol, which has been a divisive political topic under the Gold Dome for years. But he’s not pushing his luck in calling for liquor tastings at the distilleries as well.
He said “another legislator can take that up if they want to.”

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