Ohio set to allow sales of beer with higher alcohol content

The current cap for alcohol content is 12%

Craft beers are currently capped at 12% alcohol content, but that limit could increase.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio lawmakers have voted to scrap a cap on alcohol content for beer, in a move to allow craft brewers the freedom to make boozier beers.

Ohio is following the lead of other states in getting rid of its 12% cap, which has been on the books since just after Prohibition.

Craft brewers have flinched at anything restricting their ability to be creative and make stronger ales.

John Chandler owns Paladin Brewing in Youngstown. He says regular brewing yeast caps beers at around 10 to 12 percent.

If the limit is lifted, different yeasts could be used, yielding stronger beers.

“Make something that is phenomenal, that’s a one-off, that you can’t get anywhere else. It’ll allow us to experiment,” Chandler said.

State Representative Dan Ramos has been pushing for the change for years. The Lorain Democrat says it’s a jobs and economy issue. He says craft brewing is a thriving industry that can revitalize neighborhoods and help create new entertainment districts.

The Brewers Association says overall beer sales are down .2 percent, but craft beers are up almost 13 percent.

“It’s going to allow business to grow in Ohio. Our retailers are going to be able to sell beer that’s made out of the state, right at the beginning, you know, that’s higher in alcohol beer.”

Craft beers are the top sellers at local retailer Vintage Estate in Boardman.

“The craft brew business seems to be growing continually. We have new offerings coming in weekly,” said Sales Manager Mark Russell.

The shop has customers stopping by every week to see the new beers that have come in.

The bill now heads to Republican Governor John Kasich, whose spokesman says does not yet have any specific plans for signing it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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