Brewery Tours, Council Considers Tasting Ordinance - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Buzzing About Brewery Tours, Council Considers Tasting Ordinance


After nearly two and a half years of planning, Savannah has its first micro brewery, but tasting of the craft beer has yet to be tapped.

City officials are drafting a new tasting ordinance, which if approved, would allow Southbound Brewing to give consumers a firsthand look at the process.

They are asking city council to allow them to do educational tours and tastings. What they're asking for isn't that unusual. They are just wanting to operate under the same laws and ordinances as every other brewery in the in the state of Georgia.

For brewmaster Smith Mathews, Savannah seemed like the perfect place to set up shop.

He has given Savannah something brand new-- its first and only craft beer production facility.


Now they want to invite you in, but with that come some challenges from the city.

"Since we are kind of the first of our kind, they really didn't have anything in the ordinances to do the tours and tastings and host people at our facility. It was a learning process for them kind of a working process for us."

Under a state ordinance, micro breweries like Southbound are allowed to open for tours and tastings, but it's written in a way that puts the responsibility on the city. Sean Brandon with the Revenue Department says they are doing a lot of research to make sure they get it right.

"We have certainly looked at what other cities have done in terms of reasonable restrictions and come to our own draft ordinance. There are clear definitions as to what a tasting is versus place acting like a bar."

If city council passes the ordinance, you can come to Southbound for a free tour and tasting.

Similar to other tours in the state, you can buy a pint glass for your visit, which comes with six tasting tickets.

Each ticket is good for a five and a half ounce pour.

But Mathews says the law is strict. The state of Georgia only allows a person to consume up to 32 ounces per day, per two hour tour.

"Those restrictions are pretty uniform throughout Georgia," says Brandon.

"So something along those lines will probably be the case here."

But whatever the case, Mathews says the tours are crucial to building a brand and recognition. Not passing a tasting ordinance would not only be harmful to Southbound, I could put Savannah behind the times.

"It's an up incoming industry and we are going to be seeing a lot more breweries popping up all over. It's time to get on board."

The city is requiring Southbound to make some changes before tours and tastings are allowed. The tours and tastings ordinance will be up for vote at the August 8th City Council hearing.

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