Georgia rejects strong beer

State's 6% limit keeps out many styles

Feb 10, 2001 - The Georgia House of Representatives on Friday rejected legislation that would have permitted the sale of beer with an alcohol content higher that 6% by volume.


The proposal, sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Stuckey (D-Decatur), was to raise the legal alcohol content in beer to 14%. Proponents said the change would permit the sale of a greater variety of beer styles in Georgia.

Stuckey said she was stunned by her bill's sound defeat, by a margin of 108-60. "Last year, it (a similar bill) got 126 votes" in the House, she said.

"Certain members of the House saw this as an opportunity to grandstand," Stuckey said, adding that opponents should push for more treatment funding if they're sincerely concerned about alcohol abuse. She pointed out that 37 other states, including Tennessee and Florida, allow the sale of "strong malt beverages." Many of those beers are imports, but others are products of American microbreweries.

A steady stream of Republicans spoke against the bill and questioned the wisdom of raising the allowed alcohol level at the same time legislators are considering expanding the open container law to include all passengers in a vehicle.

"As a high-school teacher, I've gone to too many funerals of young people killed by drunk driving," said Rep. Kathy Cox, R-Peachtree City. "A vote for this bill is a vote to enhance the problem of alcohol and the problem alcohol has caused in this state."

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