First, everyone’s asking about what beers will be available when. Allow me to refer you to the FAQ I penned a week ago: http://www.freethehops.org/blog/2009/05/friday-faq/
In short, expect to see some stuff on shelves next week. The big wave of new arrivals will probably take several weeks or more. And we don’t know when your favorite brewery will start distributing in Alabama. Could be a couple months, could be a few years.
New higher alcohol beers WILL be at the Magic City Brewfest. Buy your tickets quick. It will sell out.
Also, not everyone was paying attention when our bill was amended. Some people have just read the final version of our bill today and are wondering about the language that states retailers holding 0ff-premises beer licenses can only sell beer up to 6%, and they assume that means you can only buy the >6% to consume on-premises. Not so. Allow me to refer you to the full explanation posted on April 29th: http://www.freethehops.org/blog/2009/04/amendment-update/
In short, your typical upscale grocery store is already set to sell >6% at this very moment, while your less fancy grocery stores will have to endure some beauracratic red tape to get the right type of license to sell it. But it won’t cost them any more money than their current license, and if they want to sell the products, they will be able to in due time. If they don’t bother getting the right license, that means they don’t want to sell the products, so they wouldn’t have anyway.
And the handful of convenience stores who want to sell really good beer should also be able to get the right license. It’s largely up to local authorities.
Please note: While the post below is titled “The Hops Are Free,” that’s not entirely correct. Raising the ABV limit was the primary reason I started FTH, and it was always our highest priority, but there are other antiquated, asinine laws oppressing the craft beer industry in this state. We’ll be having lots of discussions in the coming days about what to do next year, but rest assured we will continue to fight for sane beer regulation in Alabama, and there is much work left to be done. And we still need your help. So stay tuned — we’ve proven a grassroots effort can change Alabama law for the better. Let’s keep up the good work.
And finally, a closing thought for the day. Lots of people have directed special thanks to me and Stuart. We do appreciate the recognition, because this his been a lot of hard work for no pay whatsoever. But of course it took a helluva lot more work than just the effort of two people. Even though I’m tremendously proud of changing Alabama law for the better, I’m even more proud of what FTH has become and all the people who have put in countless long hours. It would be a mistake to start naming names because then I would leave someone out and there are just too many people. But the fact of the matter is that it took a lot of people and a lot of tireless devotion to get us to this point, and it wouldn’t have happened without all of those people. Some of them are listed on the About page on this site, but even more are not.
Thank you to all of them. And thank you to every citizen who called his or her Representative and Senator and eventually the Governor. I was told our phone calls made the difference in getting his signature. It never would have happened if people hadn’t taken the time to make their wishes known to their government. Democracy in action.
It truly is an exciting day. We’ll see you tonight in Birmingham at The J. Clyde and in Huntsville at The Nook.