Ohio debates 'strong' beer

Lawmaker proposes lifting alcohol limits

Feb 4, 2002 - An Ohio lawmaker has proposed allowing state residents to brew and drink stronger beer. Ohio currently limits beer to 6% alcohol by weight, and Rep. Jim Trakas would boost that to 12%.


Although some southern states limit beer to 6% alcohol (and Utah and Oklahoma only allow breweries to sell 3.2% abw beer except in state run stores), brewers in state surrounding Ohio do not operate under such strict definitions.

Specialty breweries such as Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland said they can't compete with unchecked competitors from both nearby states and foreign countries. "Booze, gin vodka whiskey, wine cordials are all higher in alcohol, and we feel why would beer be discriminated against?" said Great Lakes founder Patrick Conway. "People who would drink a more full-bodied, higher alcohol beer would be the kind thinking about the product, not abusing it."

Opponents are already lining up to fight the measure. "People will focus on that beer to get a higher kick, but you also have the problem that other brewers may come to town and say 'Why can't our mainstream beers have the same high octane?" and that will multiply the problem," said State Rep. Ed Jerse, (D-Euclid).

A vote is expected this month.

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