An astute brewing law enquirer emailed me today. His question was simple – what the hell is up with these Louisiana brewing laws? Can we produce beer higher than 6%?
I don’t blame him for asking. Unfortunately, Louisiana brewery law is about as antiquated as it gets. With only a handful of breweries to help the ATC interpret the laws, it is somewhat of a crapshoot.
But there is a good short answer that I tossed back to the reader that I thought I would share with you all. Hopefully it improves your understanding of what you can do as a brewery in Louisiana.
There are two types of brewery licenses in the State of Louisiana:
Microbrewery license holders can only sell their beer at retail (through a pub) and can only produce 6% and below. Think Crescent City Brewhouse.
Beer Manufacturers are different, and they can produce beers of 6% and above. They can also sell at wholesale through a distributor, but they can only obtain a retail license to sell 10% of their production in their own taproom. Think Abita or Parish Brewing.
To date, virtually no one has taken advantage of the ATC’s allowance of a limited retail license to sell 10% of production. I’m really not sure why. I understand that 10% might not be a lot, but it is certainly worth it to drive customers into your brewery and allow you to take advantage of the significant retail margin. Hopefully, we will see more of these soon. And better yet, we hope to see the law improve to allow more sales.
Hope that helps.