Australian craft beer news

Australian craft beer news

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The Ohio House of Representatives Wednesday passed House Bill 37 by a 79-7 vote, eliminating a 12 percent alcohol by volume cap on beer made and sold in the state. Gov. John Kasich has 30 days to sign the bill, which would then go into effect in 90 days.

Rep. Mike Duffey, R-Worthington, called it a jobs issue and added that the craft brewing industry is growing – Ohio is near 200 breweries now – and the state should support those growing and creative members.

“Brewing is an art form,” he said on the House floor. “Sometimes that can be high gravity (ABV) beers. These are not cheap. These are not easy to make. These are not easy to drink. These are sipping beers.”

Indeed, the high ABV segment is a small niche of the beer world. High-alcohol beers are expensive and time-consuming to make, which results in smaller batches and high price tags. But while many of these beers aren’t major sales drivers, rare and complex beers are often reputation-builders and some of the most revered and sought-after by customers.

The change may be more significant for retailers, particularly along Ohio’s borders, who would be able to sell high ABV beers just as all but one of Ohio’s neighbors have been able to do for years.

“We’re talking about Dom Perignon here, not Mad Dog 2020,” said Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, speaking in support of the bill.

He first brought up the issue of raising the ABV limit three House bills and 1,666 days ago. He called the restriction unnecessary and hurtful to small business and pointed out that other legal alcohol in the state, from spirits to wine, is over 12 percent ABV.

Eric Bean, owner of Columbus Brewing Co. and president of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, speaking after the vote said his brewery will do higher ABV beers at some point, but isn’t in a rush. It has a pilot system to create small batches, but that capacity is filled at the moment.

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