Louisiana has microbreweries already.

Now, legislation that would authorize the permitting and set rules for operation of microdistilleries cleared its first hurdle Thursday. The House Judiciary Committee, without objection, sent the measure to the full House for debate.

“It’s authorizing them to exist,” said Chris Young, lobbyist for the Beer Industry League of Louisiana.

Louisiana already has a law giving distillers the right to sell small amounts of their product directly to consumers. The new proposal would expand opportunities.

Microdistilling also known as “craft” distilling is on the rise throughout the U.S.

Nearly 650 of the businesses are operating and another 200 are on the way, according to the American Distilling Institute.

It’s a blossoming retail business which engages in the distilling, making, blending or processing of any alcoholic beverage.

Under House Bill 233, the quantities produced could not exceed 12,000 gallons per year for retail sale by each Louisiana licensed permit holder. The product would be for consumption on or off the licensed premises

Nationally, craft distilleries are considered those that make under 100,000 gallons a year in spirits. Wholesale producers can do that much on a daily basis.

HB 233, sponsored by state Rep. Bryan Adams, R-Gretna, was endorsed by the Louisiana Restaurant Association.

Permits would cost $1,000. Retailers Class A permit holders could apply for the microdistillery permit. The product would be taxed at the same rate and in the same manner as all other alcoholic beverages.

The produced alcoholic beverages could not be sold at the wholesale level or to any wholesale dealer or any other licensed retail dealer.

Follow Marsha Shuler on Twitter @MarshaShulerCNB. For more coverage of the state capitol, follow Louisiana Politics at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog/.