When I started Free The Hops back in the fall of 2004, there were 5 states that prohibited all sale of beers over 6% ABV: Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia. And only a few months before, there had been 6, as Georgia had just recently raised their 6% limit.
Then in 2005 North Carolina’s Pop The Cap succeeded in their efforts, bringing that number down to 4.
Then in 2007 South Carolina’s legislature passed a bill raising their 6% limit. Only 3 left.
And now, this past Friday, West Virginia’s Senate passed a bill raising that state’s 6% limit.
Folks, we are down to only 2 states that completely ban all beer over 6%. Alabama and Mississippi. Sometimes there is confusion over states like Oklahoma and Utah, where beer over 3.2% can only be sold in liquor stores. While that’s a really horrible law, too, at least there isn’t a total ban on beer over 6% there as we have here.
As you can see, Alabama and Mississippi are in a desperate race to finish last. Raise Your Pints is now fighting to keep Mississippi out of last place. And of course we in Free The Hops have been working tirelessly for years to change things for the better here. Little did we know when we started this fight almost five years ago that our biggest obstacle wouldn’t be neo-prohibitionists or even mega-breweries desperately clinging to an extra point of market share–it has been a dysfunctional Alabama Senate that simply won’t pass bills. Having a legislature that passes bills is a big advantage the Carolinas and West Virginia had over us.
Our Senate convenes again today at 1pm. Will they get anything done?