Beer Buzz Would Get a Big Boost from GOP bill

Written by Alan Johnson for The Columbus Dispatch

Ohioans could buy beer with a whopping 18 percent alcohol content under a provision in the state budget proposed yesterday by Senate Republicans.

Boston Brewing, the parent of Sam Adams, makes a beer called Utopias with 27 percent alcohol (price: $150 for a 24-ounce bottle).

After holding the line on alcohol content in beer for 69 years, lawmakers might be poised to increase it for the second time in a decade. The limit was increased in 2002 to 12 percent from 6 percent, where it had been since the end of Prohibition in 1933.

The alcohol boost in 2002 was promoted by a coalition of statewide distributors and microbrewers.

This time, state Sen. Jimmy Stewart, R-Albany, proposed the amendment after talking to the owners of Jackie O’s Brew Pub in Athens.

“They as well as other small breweries would be very excited about making some products on a limited basis with a higher alcohol content,” said Stewart, noting that Athens also features a number of Ohio-brewed beers at its annual Beer Week each July.

“This is a very small niche market and very expensive craft beers that are more for the aficionados.”
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