Rick Armon
Beacon Journal staff writer

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 high-alcohol specialty brews here. Brewers have said it cramps their creativity.

Meanwhile, there’s an online petition drive on Change.org (www.change.org/petitions/raise-ohio-beer-abv) to do away with the state cap. Earlier this week, there were 1,076 signatures.

“The [limit] doesn’t make sense anymore,” said Jeremy Rupp, a supporter, craft beer drinker and Pettisville resident. He has started a blog (http://ohiobeerlaw.wordpress.com/) to update people about the state process.

Rupp said when he talks with people outside Ohio, 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’re releasing,” he said. Meanwhile, Ohio breweries are missing out “because Ohio has some stupid cap.”

Happy birthday

Happy birthday, beer can.

Seventy-eight years ago last week, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Co. introduced the first beer can for sale in Richmond, Va.

It was a novel concept in 1935, but not today. About 52 percent of all beer sold in the U.S. comes in a can, the Washington, D.C.-based Beer Institute says. And with more craft brewers opting to offer cans, that percentage may grow.

“There are numerous reasons to celebrate canned beer,” Robert Budway, president of the Can Manufacturers Institute in Washington, D.C., said in a prepared statement. “…The can provides 100-percent protection against light, which retains the beer’s flavor and freshness. Aluminum cans are also 100-percent recyclable. In fact, recycled cans are back on store shelves in as little as 60 days.”

Ohio craft brewers have been slow to embrace cans. But that’s about to change with Fat Head’s Brewery in Middleburg Heights, MadTree Brewing in Cincinnati and Jackie O’s Brewery in Athens all planning to can.

As for those original Krueger cans, they are worth a mint. Dan Morean of Breweriana.com sold a pair of them — including one of the first 500 cans off the line — in February 2007 for $32,000.

“Wish I could buy them back!” he said in an email.

Beer dinner

D’Agnese’s Trattoria & Cafe, 566 White Pond Drive, Akron, will hold a five-course “Stoopid Cupid” beer dinner at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13 featuring the Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Tickets are $35 and reservations are required. Call 234-678-3612.

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Read his beer blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/the-beer-blog.