'Craft' beers prompt alcohol limit changes

Nov. 4, 2009 at 1:04 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- The popularity of "micro-breweries" that produce gourmet beers is prompting U.S. states to consider raising alcohol limits on the beverages, brewers say.

Manufacturers say the strict limits placed on alcohol content of beers by some states restrict the kinds of ingredients that micro-brewers can use to produce the wide range of flavors coveted by craft beer consumers, USA Today reported Wednesday.

Paul Gatza, director of the national Brewers Association based in Boulder, Colo., told the newspaper that consumers of craft beers "don't drink to get drunk. They drink to appreciate the flavors."

Ohio in 2002 raised beer alcohol-content rules when it upped the allowable alcohol-by-volume to 12 percent, followed by Georgia in 2004, North Carolina in 2005 and South Carolina in 2007. USA Today said Alabama passed its Gourmet Beer Bill in May, increasing the alcohol cap from 6 percent to 13.9 percent.

"Our chief concern is that (higher-alcohol brews) be properly labeled so people understand it takes fewer beers to become intoxicated," Chuck Hurley, CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, told the newspaper.

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