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Posted: March 14, 2012 4:38 p.m.

Ga. bill would expand brewpub business

ATLANTA (AP) - A Senate panel has approved legislation that could be a boon for the state's brewpub business.

House Bill 472 passed with no opposition and now heads to the Rules committee. The House overwhelmingly passed the bill last month. The proposal increases the number of barrels that a brewpub could produce from 5,000 to 10,000 and increases from 500 to 5,000 the number they could sell to wholesale distributors.

State Rep. Richard Smith says the proposal improves the climate for Georgia's dozen or so brewpubs, including one in his district that raised the issue. Supporters say the bill addresses increased demand amid the growing popularity of craft beers. Brewpub owners say the measure would also allow them to hire more workers and fund the expensive equipment required to run such operations.

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