The Alabama Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee has approved legislation to permit grocery stores and restaurants to sell beer with more than double the alcohol content currently allowed, the Associated Press reported Feb. 11.
Currently, Alabama — like Mississippi and West Virginia — cap alcohol content in beer at 6 percent by volume. The new regulations would up the limit to 13.9 percent by volume.
The legislation is set to move to the full Senate next week. Free the Hops, a group of beer consumers, is driving efforts to change the law.
Joe Godfrey, executive director of the church-based group Alabama Citizen Action Program, said the organization opposes the bill because the stronger beer will get people drunk faster. “Study after study has shown the more accessible alcohol is and the more potent it is, the more damage it does,” he said.
However, Senate Rules Committee Chairman Lowell Barron said the bill “will probably pass if we can get things moving in the Senate. I don’t detect much opposition.”
The Tourism and Marketing Committee also approved measures increasing the amount of alcohol that can be in wine in Alabama grocery and convenience stores, and also approved a bill allowing 14 Alabama cities to schedule public referenda on whether to legalize Sunday alcohol sales.