How Good People’s People Backed Alabama Craft Laws Charge

Being a part of the Birmingham, Alabama community is what got Good People Brewing to where they are today, said Marketing Director Lauren McCurdy. Those people helped the brewery get going along with helping change laws along with other craft brewers and their backers and communities to help change laws in the state.

“We couldn’t be who we are today without the dedicated and loyal community we’ve always had around us,” she said. “It was the support of family, friends, nonprofits, and other small businesses that helped build our brand. They welcomed us with open arms and clean cups.”

Alabama, McCurdy admitted, has been a bit behind on it’s alcohol regulations compared to some other states, pointing out that modern breweries have only been in the state for about 10 years.

Regulations all began to change in 2004 thanks to the hard work of Free The Hops, a grassroots organization whose mission was to help bring the highest quality beers of the world to Alabama. “Michael and Jason, our co-founders, quickly became part of the Free The Hops movement,” McCurdy said. “They often traveled to Montgomery, the state capital, to speak with legislators and lobby on behalf of the burgeoning craft beer industry.”

In 2006, Good People Brewing Company was incorporated. Over the next year, with the support of family and friends, the company set up shop in the Five Points South Neighborhood of Birmingham, in a basement that had once housed a small brewery.

It would take nearly two years before regulatory and legal obstacles were overcome, and they could bring our beer to market.

The first keg was sold on July 4, 2008: Good People Brown Ale.

“This is also why you see “Legally Brewed Since 2008” on the tops of our cans — a nod to our humble beginnings,” McCurdy said.

After long days of shaking hands, kissing babies, and endless phone calls, Free The Hops had a bill in site. The Gourmet Beer Bill, as it was so called, was passed in May, 2009, which increased the ABV limit from 5.9 percent to 13.9 percent.

“The hops were being freed and IPAs were soon to be king,” McCurdy said. “Free The Hops built the world that we now live in.”

McCurdy says bar managers in Five Points still talk about the early Good People sales calls, which consisted primarily of tasting the Brown Ale from milk jugs walked up from the brewery.

“Our Pale Ale followed closely behind, as well as early versions of a stout and IPA,” she said. “Those of us that came of drinking age around this time didn’t have many local options — only Sweetwater in Atlanta and Lazy Magnolia out of Mississippi. We would often take road trips over to Atlanta or up to Nashville to try all the craft beer we couldn’t currently get in the state. When we heard there was a local brewery starting up, we all had a rejuvenated sense of local culture and wanted to cultivate and support it.”

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