This blog was somewhat orphaned after the 2006 Legislative session. There just hasn’t been much I’ve felt inspired to comment on outside the monthly newsletter during the off-season. But now we’re back in the thick of it, and I need to clarify a thing or two.

I have seen several different sources–from newspaper articles to blogs to letters to the editor–make some reference to our bill(s) this year addressing the container limit on beer. Sadly, that is not true. Look at the text of the bill folks: HB195. The only changes to the law we are currently proposing are where words to be deleted are crossed out and words to be added are underlined. All we are addressing right now is the ABV limit. I can only guess someone made an assumption about our bills after looking at our website, and then someone else took that assumption as fact.

No, even after one of our bills succeeds this year, the container limit on beer will remain 16 ounces. There are two primary reasons for this, and while I’m sure they were spelled out in a newsletter long ago, it would be helpful to dust them off for this post.

First, getting “pro-alcohol” legislation passed in Alabama is difficult enough when you’re only addressing one issue. Trying to educate legislators about the nature of high alcohol beer is hard enough. If we were to include an increase on container size in the same bill, it would just create a bigger, fatter target for the anti-alcohol opposition. Instead of only having to find fault with one issue in a bill, we would be giving potential opponents a choice, a buffet of options to pick from when attacking the bill. Having more than one issue in the bill would make it easier to shoot down.

Second, there are some powerful beer wholesalers in the state who are vehemently opposed to raising the container limit, but they are supportive of the ABV change. Right now, we have their support on our bills. If we were to include a provision to raise the container limit, not only would their support be withdrawn, but they would actively fight against us. And that would make a difficult task nearly impossible.

Currently, our plan is to address the container size at a local level. This would invoke less ire from the beer wholesalers and make our chances for success much greater. We don’t yet have a detailed plan on how we’ll do that. Just addressing the ABV limit has been enough work for us as volunteers this year. I think we’ll soon see success on the ABV issue, at which point we’ll turn our attention to the container limit.

Also, everyone please note that SB128 had a typo of some sort and had to be refiled with a new bill number. Our Senate bill is now officially SB211. That doesn’t have any effect other than we need to cite the correct bill number in our letters and phone calls to our Senators and Representatives.

Be sure to start dropping by this space once in a while during the session. I intend to pick up the pace here with all that’s going on.