This is how Creative Loafing’s Wyatt Williams described brewery tours in Georgia this spring.
You must know that you can’t just walk into a brewery in Georgia at any given time and pay for your pint like any old pub. Owing to a bizarrely specific set of regulations set by the Georgia Department of Revenue, attending a brewery tour in Georgia is like performing a complicated mating ritual specific only to the indigenous beer drinkers and brewers of our region. Most importantly, the brewery is not actually allowed to sell beer. It can (and does) sell soap made from beer, dog treats made from beer, beer branded cozies, specially shaped bottle openers, T-shirts with Grateful Dead references, Frisbees with foil-stamped beer logos, and commemorative pint glasses into which a brewer may pour many free samples of beer. Remember, the beer is the part they’re not allowed to sell, so you can ask for a free plastic cup into which your free sample of beer will be poured. You may bear in mind that the regulations do not prevent anyone from being called an asshole.
The rules don’t end there. The brewery may not give away free beer for a period of longer than two hours in a single day. During those two hours, the total amount of free beer poured into a commemorative pint glass may not exceed 32 ounces, though the brewery may subdivide that total into however many samples they like. All of this must happen under the contrived pretext of a free brewery tour, despite the fact that the people attending don’t seem to really do much actual touring of the brewery. It is simply the rule: no free tour, no free beer. Look up Chapter 560-2-7-.01 if you want the full accounting.
Frankly, the state of Georgia is safer when the legislature isn’t in session, but since it has to happen annually, maybe the 2015 Horror Show Under The Gold Dome will finally see some brewery-related reforms pass.