February 9, 2006
Between trying to outlaw kegs and this nonsense, I’m glad I don’t live in Alabama…
Help us Free The Hops!
Alabama is one of only four states in the country that limits alcohol by volume (ABV) for beer to only 6%, and the only state that limits beer containers to a size of no more than 1 pint (16 American ounces).
As statewide Prohibition came to end in Alabama, the only politically viable avenue open to those who wanted the sale of alcohol to once again be legal in the state was to place heavy restrictions on that sale. What, when, where, and how alcohol could be sold were all strictly controlled by the legislation which legalized alcohol sales in Alabamaâ€”four years after National Prohibition was repealed.
The ABV Limit
The 6% ABV limit excludes approximately 1/3 of the world’s beer styles, some of them the finest, highest quality beverages on earth. Entire styles of specialty beers fall above this limitation, such as barleywine, a strong ale with a typical ABV between 8-13%. Barleywines are elegant and expensive, sometimes cellared and aged for years like a fine Cabernet. Another elite group of beers, those brewed by Trappist Monks in Belgium (considered by many to be the greatest beer in the world) is comprised almost entirely of beers above 6% ABV. These â€œDubbelsâ€ and â€œTrippelsâ€ are currently illegal in Alabama.
The Container Limit
Though it is impossible to quantify exactly how many other beers are excluded by the 1 pint limit, it is safe to say that many more fine beers are unavailable to Alabamians due to this additional restriction. For example, Rogue Alesâ€”one of the most notable craft breweries in the United Statesâ€”sells most of their beer in 22 ounce bottles. Only 5 of their 25 core beers fall within Alabama’s ABV and container size restrictions. Furthermore, many beers from Europe (such as those of Young’s Brewery in England) are only exported in 500 mL or 750 mL bottlesâ€”too big for Alabama.
Of the Top 100 beers at BeerAdvocate.com, 98 aren’t found anywhere in this state.
Until mid-2004, Georgia also had this law. Had I moved here while that was in effect, I very well may have had to move back to CA. When does it finally occur to people that perhaps it’s not the state government’s job to decide things such as this?
There’s a well-known liquor/beverage store here in Atlanta called Green’s, renowned for their specialty beer selection. Apparently they get a lot of business from AL and SC residents (S. Carolina being one of the other states with this restriction), who are in the area, buying beers unavailable in their home state. As mentioned above, an enormous selection of high-quality brews are excluded by these two restrictions. In fact, many of my personal favorites (such as Arrogant Bastard Ale and many Belgian Tripels) would not be available.
Why? As the writer of this site points out here, it’s not like the “it’s for the children” argument even holds water. Underage drinkers are not looking for a 750 ml bottle of Grand Cru at 10% alcohol to catch their buzz, they’re looking for a case of Keystone Light as cheap as they can get it.
This law is simply unnecessary meddling in individual affairs. It serves no real “public safety” purpose. It’s not even a moral issue, as Alabama allows the sale of liquor that is much, much more potent than these specialty beers. When I start railing against the stupidity of restricting alcohol purchases on Sunday here in Georgia, I only have to look a little westward to see how bad it truly could be.
The Liberty Papers»Blog Archive linked with The Ever-Widening Smoking Ban
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