Alabama is currently the only state in the Union that bans the sale of bottled and canned beer over 16 fl. oz. This year, Free the Hops will try to change that.

Changing the ABV law helped bring a great amount of new craft beer into Alabama, but there are still a variety of products that can’t be sold here. Even some of our favorite new breweries that began distributing here after the law changed can only sell a limited amount of their line.

Great Divide beers have been popular since becoming available after the Governor signed the Gourmet Beer Bill. Their Denver Pale Ale, Titan, Belgica, and others are best-sellers in many stores. Unfortunately, Alabama’s consumers can’t find an Oak Aged Yeti, Fresh Hop, or Old Ruffian Barleywine on the shelves because these rare options are only available in bottles larger than 16 oz.

It’s a similar story for Rogue Shakespeare Stout, Sierra Nevada Grand Cru, the Side Project series from Terrapin, and Abita’s Abbey Ale. These are all available in bottles greater than 16 oz. only. Several bottles from Cigar City, Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, Jolly Pumpkin, and others are also banned in Alabama because of the container size restriction.

And that’s just the breweries that are currently distributing their products in Alabama. Many beer enthusiasts are patiently waiting to see their favorite beers from premier breweries like Stone and Dogfish Head. Unfortunately, about half the labels from those two breweries would not be available at stores in Alabama because they are only packaged in 22 oz. bottles. That fact may even be one reason why those breweries have yet to jump on the Alabama beer bandwagon.

The Gourmet Beer Bill did wonders for craft beer in Alabama by legalizing the many great beers that happen to be above 6% ABV. The next logical step is for us to legalize the many great beers that happen to come in a package that doesn’t fit into a six pack holder.

The regular legislative session starts in March. Get ready for a fight.