Saturday, March 31, 2007

New bill might allow S.C. to sell beer with higher alcohol content


South Carolina law could allow higher-alcohol content in commercially sold beer by this June.

The possibility began again (after being tabled last session) with House Bill 3624, which suggested a change in the current law that would allow beer with as much as 14 percent alcohol by weight. That law was attached to House Bill 3218, which contains some dense language about imported beer and suppliers (I cannot understand it).


Currently the law states that beer cannot exceed 5 percent alcohol. Oddly enough, as I write this, I'm drinking Riggwelter Ale, an import from England that claims 5.7 percent alcohol, and I bought this beautiful stuff locally.


Here's House Bill 3218:
http://www.scstatehouse.net/sess117_2007-2008/bills/3218.htm

The full House Judiciary Committee will vote on the bill on April 10, and the woman I spoke to said it's pretty much a done deal that it will get out on the floor for the entire House to vote on it.


If the Senate and the House bills link up OK and the final bill passes, then the law could become effective upon the Governor's signature, which would happen in early June.

This page will give you the local S.C. House and S.C. Senate folks, so you can contact them with your opinion on these bills:
http://specialsections.myrtlebeachonline.com/SS/Page.aspx?secid=22672&pagenum=116&facing=false


North Carolina and Georgia already allow higher alcohol content. Last night, I was drinking some gorgeous Belgian Trappist ales that a friend bought while in Atlanta, and the alcohol content ranged from 7 percent to 10.5 percent.
-Colin Burch

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