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New Law Would Allow Virginia Wineries to Sell Beer

01/03/2019

Though the 2019 Session of Virginia’s General Assembly doesn’t start until next week, there’s already a potentially important change on the horizon when it comes to which products wineries and breweries can sell. SB 1064, introduced by Senator Bill Stanley of Franklin County, would allow Virginia’s Farm Wineries to sell beer produced by Virginia’s Farm Breweries for on-premise consumption and vice-versa.

Virginia Farm Wineries must source the majority of the fruits used in their winemaking from the property on which the winery sits or other Virginia farms. The vast majority (nearly 300) of Virginia wineries are Farm Wineries. On the brewery side of the equation, a Farm Brewery must produce no more than 15,000 barrels annually, be located on agriculturally-zoned farmland, and grow products that it uses in the production of its beer. There are only a handful of Farm Breweries in Virginia, but the legislation that created Farm breweries is not yet even five years old.

With repercussions so obvious that I need not even mention that beer-loving uncle who refuses to drink wine or that budding sommelier friend with the gluten allergy, this bill will be an interesting one to watch. As always, LeClairRyan will track this and all others relating to the alcoholic beverage industry through the 2019 General Assembly Session.

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