Nestled into a long, narrow space in Atlanta’s Little Five Points, you can find a real treasure on the thoughtful craft beer front, with a terrific, locally-focused menu beside it. The Porter Beer Bar is always an experience, and September marks four years in the space.
Creative Loafing interviewed co-owner Molly Gunn, and I think her comments on Georgia’s legal situation are well worth repeating:
I’m looking forward to the emergence of a crowded local beer scene in Atlanta. I hope that one day we can rival Asheville and San Diego as great beer towns. I think many folks would agree that further relaxation in Georgia alcohol laws would also be a boost to the beer scene. Everything from the complex and long process of label approval to the still limiting ABV laws stand in our way of becoming a true beer destination.
As I’ve been working through some of the launch-glitches with this site, I’ve relied on input from friends near and far, and I’ve been asking what type of information they’d like to see on a site devoted to beer and brewing. Because many live in states with a better legal framework around alcohol than Georgia has, I’ve had to explain that there are certain avenues the site just can’t pursue because of the potential for legal problems.
What we have in Georgia is an accidental collusion between distributors with a near-monopoly on what comes into the state and the narrow, stingy brand of faith practiced by our large population of evangelicals, many of whom appear to seriously resent Atlanta (for our freedoms?).
At the same time, we are living in a time of increasingly relaxed liquor laws, and our legislature (which increasingly relies on home rule to save itself from having to make any hard decisions) understands that Georgians want access to more of the world’s great beers.
In 2004, the 6% ABV limit was lifted (my understanding is that the owners of Decatur’s Brick Store Pub were instrumental in achieving this victory), and in 2010/2011 we saw growler sales approved, with credit going to the owners of The Beer Growler, which got its start in Athens, opened a second location in Avondale Estates, and is now up and running all around metro Atlanta. Last year, municipalities in the state voted on whether to allow Sunday package sales, and Georgians again overwhelmingly opted to make their own choice about what and when to drink.
So if you live here, understand that this state is in the middle of a small revolution when it comes to great beer. The next time you drop in at The Porter or the Brick Store or any of Atlanta’s other great beer destinations, raise a glass to that.