Mississippi beer drinkers celebrated Monday when governor Phil Bryant signed into law a bill that raises the alcohol-by-weight limit in beer from 5% to 8%.
Senate Bill 2878, effective July 1, will expand the variety of beers sold in the state, especially craft beers. After the new law goes into effect, about 70 of what he called the top 100 brands in the world could be on shelves and on tap, said a thrilled Butch Bailey, founder and president of the nonprofit group Raise Your Pints. Currently 15 on that list are.
“It’s a great day to be a Mississippian!” Bailey exclaimed Monday on Twitter.
Bailey said the new 8% alcohol-by-weight limit translates to about 10.% alcohol-by-volume. Mississippi and Utah are the only two states that measure alcohol content by weight.
Mississippi still has the lowest beer alcohol content compared to neighboring states. Alabama has a 13.9% alcohol-by-volume cap, while Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee have no caps.
“The current law really hampers Mississippi and restricts Mississippians’ access to gourmet products,” said Bailey, who has sought the new law for the past five years. “We are thankful to the governor for recognizing this is a good bill for Mississippi.”
Monday was the deadline for Bryant to act or do nothing, allowing the bill to become law unsigned.
Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson, who authored the new law, said the measure paves the way for job creation and more “cottage” and home-based industries like Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co. in Kiln and up-and-comer Lucky Town Brewing Co. in Gluckstadt.
“Sometimes it takes five years for a measure to catch on and get accepted, and that was the case with this particular measure,” Horhn said. “The craft beer community was better organized this year than ever before.”