State Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, plans to re-introduce a proposal this year to increase the legal limit on the amount of alcohol allowed in beer sold in Ohio. Right now, the limit is 12 percent alcohol by volume. Ramos' proposal would boost that to 21 percent.
"Of course, with Ohio’s growing brewing industry, we see this as good for state tax revenue, as consumers won’t cross the border into a neighboring state with less prohibitive restrictions to purchase similar products, and good for business as it allows the industry to continue to grow and distribute its products across the state and country," Ramos' legislative aide John Tyler said.
The proposal has been introduced in the state legislature before but failed to get approved. Ohio craft beer drinkers have long complained that they can't buy such high-alcohol specialty brews. Brewers also have said it cramps their creativity.
Christopher Bartos of Columbus has launched an online petition drive on Change.org to do away with the state cap. As of Tuesday, there were 936 signatures. Click here to see the petition. Bartos couldn't be reached for comment.
"The [limit] doesn’t make sense anymore," said Jeremy Rupp, a supporter, craft beer drinker and Pettisville resident. He has started a blog to update people about the state process. To read the blog, click here.
Rupp said when he talks with people outside the state, he hears about unusual beers that can't be sold here. He cited as an example Founders Bolt Cutter, a 15 percent barleywine made in neighboring Michigan. "They get nationally recognized for these beers they are releasing," he said. Meanwhile, Ohio breweries are missing out "because Ohio has some stupid cap."