Friday, May 22, 2009

The Hops: Free at last!

Governor Bob Riley signs legislation increasing legal ABV percentage in beer sold in Alabama to 13.9%

I am so incredibly happy right now. It's hard to really explain to other people who don't live in Alabama the mind-boggling frustration you have to endure to figure out what's legal to buy and what isn't. We still can't have larger single-serve containers than a pint, and we still can't buy alcohol online, but this is a step in the right direction, and hopefully one of many to be taken. Ironic, considering that we're the only state in the union that has an "official state liquor" (which, incidentally, is pretty tasty, but still).

There's so much beer out there that I've yet to get my mitts on, and I feel like I'm 21 all over again!

Just before 10 a.m., Alabama Governor Bob Riley signed into law HB373, the Gourmet Beer Bill, which will raise the limit on alcohol content in beer sold in Alabama.

The bill’s passage follows a five-year struggle by Alabama’s grassroots gourmet beer advocacy group, Free the Hops, to raise the limit on the alcohol content of beer sold in Alabama from 6.0% to 13.9%. The higher limit will allow Alabama’s package stores, grocery stores, and bars and restaurants to sell and serve higher gravity beers.

After Alabama’s senate passed the gourmet beer bill last Thursday, Free the Hops mobilized its followers. The organizations urged its members and followers to call Gov. Riley’s office and encourage the governor to sign the bill into law. Free The Hops announced a final push for calls just hours before the governor signed the bill.

“I have been informed that our phone calls made the difference,” said a post on the FreeTheHops Twitter account after Riley signed the bill. “Everyone who called the Gov deserves credit for getting this done.”

What happens next? Well, first, we celebrate. J. Clyde will host a celebratory party tonight at 5 p.m. featuring cask ale from Birmingham brewer Good People. In Huntsville, a similar party will commence at 5 p.m. at The Nook.

After that, Free the Hops might look to other limits on Alabama’s beer and brewing, such as Alabama’s container size limit for beer.

For more information and updates, check the Free The Hops website or Twitter.

Birmingham Weekly Article

No comments: