Say goodbye to Ohio’s alcohol limit in beer.
Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday signed House Bill 37, which does away with the state’s 12 percent cap.
The new law — designed to help grow the state’s booming craft beer industry — also allows open container districts and sets new labeling requirements for high-alcohol brews.
Ohio brewers now will be able to make beers with higher alcohol and retailers will be able to sell the pricier brews. The law goes into effect in 90 days from the signing, the governor’s office said.
The last time the state raised the ABV (alcohol by volume) limit was in 2002, when it rose from 6 percent.
Craft beer fans and brewers have been clamoring for years to have the state increase or eliminate the limit. Proponents argued that the cap hampers creativity of brewers and pushes beer drinkers outside Ohio to purchase high-alcohol beers such as Samuel Adams Utopias and Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA.
“It levels the playing field with other states,” John Najeway, co-owner of Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. in Akron, said about the change.
Mary MacDonald, executive director of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, praised the governor and state lawmakers.
“Our breweries and brewpubs directly employ nearly 2,500 people and this bill will enable them to continue to grow, reinvest and bring even more into this exciting industry,” she said.
Many breweries, including Thirsty Dog, have been preparing special beers to celebrate the change.
Thirsty Dog is working on a Belgian-style strong ale at 14 percent and a barrel-aged English barley wine that will clock in at 16 percent, Najeway said.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or email@example.com. Read his beer blog at ohio.com/beer. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.