“Ohio Beer Bill” to raise alcohol content passes in Ohio Senate

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio breweries could soon serve a wider variety of beers. A new bill would raise the alcohol limit allowed in beers–opening doors for smaller breweries to expand.

If passed, breweries could serve beers that contain as much as 21 percent alcohol. Right now, the state caps alcohol in beers at 12 percent and local breweries like Toxic Brewing Company say that’s keeping them from growing.

“Not everyone likes big beers over 12 percent, but just to have that option is priceless,” Toxic Brewing Company Owner Shane Juhl said. “The fact that almost all the other states surrounding us do not have that limit really hurts us.”

Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Michigan have no limits on the alcohol content of craft beers and because of that Toxic Brew Company Owner Shane Juhl says breweries like his and other are missing out on customers.

“We’re small so we distribute only to a small area,” Juhl said. “Some of the larger breweries distribute out of the state lines and again that hurts them that they can’t brew a beer over that percentage and be known for it over here and sell it across state lines.”

Juhl says the passing of “Ohio’s Beer Bill” won’t just benefit them, but all business in the state.

“It’ll help our business as far as revenue and that always comes back to the city and the state and the county through tax revenue,” Juhl said. “It’ll bring more people into the state from out of state. So thats brand new revenue.”

The last time Ohio lawmakers increased the limit was back in 2002 when they raised it from 6 to 12 percent. Juhl says there could push back on the bill from larger breweries who are afraid of losing business.

“The most volume of liquid does not come from us small guys,” Juhl said. “Us craft brewers and so maybe the larger breweries don’t want us to have big beers, they don’t want us to be creative, they don’t want people to take away from other market shares.”

The Ohio Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to eliminate the 12 percent alcohol cap on beer. The bill now heads back to the house for a second vote.

 

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