Beer Below 4% Alcohol Currently Outlawed in Restaurants, Bars in Colorado

Written by Charlie Papazian for

It’s a sad state of affairs when state legislators have to spend time and fight to get a bill passed that would permit restaurants and bars to sell beer that is less than 4% alcohol. Really? Really!

But that’s the way it is in Colorado, which isn’t the only state in the U.S. of A. that has some pretty convoluted beer laws. It seems like a no brainer, but debate, discussion and logic seems to be prevailing as Colorado Senate Bill 60, sponsored by Sens. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood, and Jean White, R-Hayden slowly advances and gains support. According to a Denver Business Journal story Bill allowing low-alcohol beer sales in Colorado bars, restaurants advances, “The bill would reverse a law allowing only establishments with low-alcohol “fermented beverage” licenses, such as convenience and grocery stores, to sell beers less than 4 percent alcohol by volume.”

Seems straight forward, but with all politics there are lurkers that feel if someone gets something, then they should get something to. The story reports “Convenience-store owners testified against SB 60 Tuesday, saying that restaurants should have to follow the same demarcation laws that they do on who can sell what alcoholic products. Several asked members of the Senate Local Government and Energy Committee to not change the law for eateries unless they also allow convenience stores to sell full-strength beer.”

Never mind the “gimme something too” posturing. This seems like a clear and responsible thing to do for Colorado beer drinkers.

The Colorado Brewers Guild, the organization representing Colorado small brewers and the Colorado Restaurant Association support HB 60. If there were a Colorado beer drinkers association, surely they too would say “aye.”

(Below: the elusive glass of lower alcohol beer. There yesterday, gone today, hopefully back tomorrow. Photo: Charlie Papazian)

Charlie Papazian is the author of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, founder of the Great American Beer festival, the American Homebrewers Association and the Association of Brewers. He works, lives and still enjoys making homebrewed beer in Colorado.

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