State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) re-introduced legislation on Monday to help spur economic development in Ohio’s growing brewing industry by allowing brewers to produce and sell beer containing up to 21 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
“The brewing industry is one of the few sectors that continued to experience growth through the recession. It is time Ohio abandons unnecessary regulations that put us at a competitive disadvantage with other states and do whatever we can to encourage the further growth of these businesses,” said Rep. Ramos.
Craft brewers currently provide an estimated 108,000 jobs nationally and the industry has seen double digit growth over much of the last decade, with more breweries operating in 2012 than at any time since the 1880s.To target Ohio’s brewers for further economic development, the bill calls for a one year delay period to allow in-state businesses to create products in the 12-21 percent category in order to compete with out-of-state breweries that sell similar products.
“With other higher-proof options already available on Ohio’s store shelves, often at a cheaper cost to the consumer, this archaic government regulation just doesn’t make sense,” said Rep. Ramos. “It needlessly holds back Ohio brewers from having the freedom to experiment with new products, a restriction not faced by brewers in neighboring states.”
Nationally, fewer than 10 states limit the allowable ABV in beer and of Ohio’s neighboring states, only West Virginia has a set maximum. Under current Ohio law, beer produced or sold in the state is restricted to 12 percent ABV. Ohio last raised its ABV cap in 2002, from 6 percent to 12 percent alcohol by volume.
This legislation was first introduced for consideration in 2011, with 8 co-sponsors. Since that time, the legislation has gained strong bipartisan support, with 20 co-sponsors from all parts of the state. The bill will soon receive a number and be referred to a standing House committee for further consideration.