Monday, May 5, 2008

Down to the wire

Is the promised land in sight? The folks at Free the Hops say the Gourmet Beer Bill, HB196, will finally be up for discussion in the Alabama Senate this week, likely on Tuesday. The bill would raise the allowed alcohol limit on beer sold here from 6 percent alcohol by volume to 13.9 percent.

The group's president, Stuart Carter, sent an e-mail to supporters this morning asking that they call their senators to ask for a yes vote on the bill.

This could the last real hurdle in the years-long effort to raise the ABV limit. If HB196 clears the Senate, it'll go to Gov. Bob Riley, needing his signature to become law. FTH leaders have said they've been told the governor will sign the bill if it comes to him.

Many of the world's best beers contain more than 6 percent alcohol, including much of the stuff being produced by America's many craft brewers, who are seeing an explosion of consumer interest in their beers. Alabama is one of three states where the alcohol limit is so low. Advocates for change say the law is keeping quality beer out of Alabama.