Seventy-five years after Prohibition, beer aficionados in Alabama are fighting for the right to brew and chug as they please. That’s raised the ire of Southern Baptists, who frown on alcohol in any form. As they jockey for advantage in the Legislature, one side quotes Scripture. The other cites BeerAdvocate.com. One talks morality. The other, malt.
Though this may seem like an only-in-the-Bible-Belt brawl, booze-related debates have flared recently in a number of states.
In Virginia, for instance, sangria was the talk of the statehouse after a Spanish restaurant was cited for illegally mixing brandy with wine, in violation of a 1930s-era statute. Idaho lawmakers may soon amend the criminal code to permit vodka sales on election days. And in Colorado, lawmakers have considered rescinding a law that bans supermarkets (but not liquor stores) from selling wine with more than 3.2% alcohol content.
California does not impose special restrictions on beer sales. But across the South, many states have long tried to keep out high-alcohol beer. Those laws were overturned in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia in recent years. This year, campaigns are underway here and in West Virginia and Mississippi.
Free the Hops, which claims 750 dues-paying members, has introduced two bills in Alabama: one to legalize home-brewing and the other to permit sales of beer with alcohol content of up to 13.9% by volume. Last week the state House approved the measure raising the alcohol limit in beer; the Senate is expected to take it up soon. The home-brew bill has not been scheduled for debate.Arguing that alcohol can corrupt body, mind and soul, Alabama’s Southern Baptists, a politically powerful group, are fighting to derail the 13.9% bill in the Senate.
From the Free the Hops web site:
You may have never heard of Trappist ales because currently none of them are sold in Alabama. Yet our neighbor to the east, Georgia, sees all of these specialty beers plus many, many more. In fact, only 1 or 2 of the top 100 beers in the world (as rated by BeerAdvocate.com) can be found in Alabama.
And it might surprise you to find out that these fine ales made by Belgian monks are prohibited from being sold in Alabama. By law, they simply cannot be sold here. That is what FTH is trying to change. We want to give Alabamians the option to choose the Mercedes of beers.