Version Of Ramos' Relaxed Restrictions On Beer Heads To Governor's Desk
Legislature OKs revision to end ABV restrictions for craft beer
May 18, 2016
 
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After more than four years of advocacy and three bipartisan bills to loosen alcohol content restrictions for craft beer in Ohio, State Rep. Dan Ramos’ (D-Lorain) efforts may have paid off with today’s legislative approval of House Bill 37. The bill was narrowly tailored to allow people to drink alcohol at the North Market in Columbus but was later amended to do away with Ohio’s 12 percent alcohol-by-volume (ABV) cap on beer. Ramos has introduced three bills in the last four years to raise Ohio’s ABV restriction to 21 percent. 


“I am pleased that we are finally taking this step to make Ohio more economically competitive in this rapidly developing industry,” said Ramos. “As local breweries and brewpubs continue to pop up across our state, it’s important that we level the playing field to let small business owners and brewers compete nationally. The number of jobs and amount of economic development tied to the craft beer industry in our state are becoming immensely significant. I am glad we were able to do away with an outdated law that, frankly, didn’t make much sense in an era where twenty-one percent liquor is readily available at gas stations.” 


Under the legislation, the state would have to adopt new labeling rules that clearly indicate the ABV and that the beer is “high alcohol beer” when its ABV surpasses 12 percent. 


After Ohio failed to close a deal in 2014 with Stone Brewing for a proposed $74 million expansion to Columbus, Ramos was critical of the legislature’s inaction on his bipartisan proposal, saying at the time, “In Ohio, some of Stone’s catalogue is illegal, as we are one of the few states that has a limit on the alcoholic content of beer….This bill isn’t about beer, it’s about jobs.” 


Ohio ultimately lost the Stone expansion to Virginia. 


Following today’s vote, Gov. Kasich will now have the final say on whether or not Ohio ditches restrictions on craft beer.  

 
 
 
  
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