Ohio Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, re-introduced legislation this week that would allow brewers to produce and sell beer containing up to 21 percent alcohol by volume. The current limit in the state is 12 percent.
“The brewing industry is one of the few sectors that continued to experience growth through the recession," Ramos said in a prepared statement. "It is time Ohio abandons unnecessary regulations that put us at a competitive disadvantage with other states and do whatever we can to encourage the further growth of these businesses."
The bill calls for a one-year delay period to allow in-state businesses to create high-alcohol brews to compete with out-of-state breweries that sell similar products.
“With other higher-proof options already available on Ohio’s store shelves, often at a cheaper cost to the consumer, this archaic government regulation just doesn’t make sense,” Ramos said. “It needlessly holds back Ohio brewers from having the freedom to experiment with new products, a restriction not faced by brewers in neighboring states.”
Nationally, fewer than 10 states limit the ABV in beer. Of Ohio’s neighboring states, only West Virginia has a set maximum. Ohio last raised the limit in 2002, from 6 percent to 12 percent.
This legislation was first introduced for consideration in 2011, with eight co-sponsors. Since that time, the legislation has gained strong bipartisan support, with 20 co-sponsors from all parts of the state, a news release says. The bill will soon be referred to a standing House committee for further consideration.