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Group wants change on alcohol limit for beers

ANNISTON (AP) — In an effort to get more specialty beers on the market in Alabama, a group called Free The Hops wants to change the state’s limits on the amount of alcohol in beer and the size of cans and bottles.

Alabama restricts beer to 6 percent alcohol by volume, and bottles and cans cannot exceed one pint. Free The Hops contends those are among the most restrictive beer laws of any state and prohibit people in Alabama from enjoying some of the world’s finest beers.

“One of the fundamental principles guiding people in this state is smaller government and lower taxes,” the group’s president, Danny Kiln of Cahaba Heights, said. “The notion that the government should be telling me what I can and cannot drink is absurd.”

Free The Hops contends there is a growing market for upscale tastes in beers and wines in Alabama, but the law bars many highly regarded specialty beers, such as barleywine, a strong ale with alcohol by volume of 8 percent to 13 percent.

“We’re in a culture where more people drink beer based on a commercial,” Kiln said. “We would like to see people appreciate it based on flavor.”

Kiln said Free The Hops, which refers to a flower used to season beer, started in 2005 and now has about 600 members.

Shroud Award

But it has a difficult task: In June, proposed legislation to raise the alcohol level and size in beer received the Shroud Award in the state House of Representatives, an annual honor bestowed upon a measure that got the worst legislative reception. Rep. Randy Wood, R-Anniston, said he doesn’t support the measure because drinkers have plenty of alcoholic and nonalcoholic options.

But according to Free The Hops, those options don’t include 98 of the Top 100 beers at Along with many specialty beers having more than 6 percent alcohol by volume, many also come in containers larger than a pint. According to the group, one of the most notable brews in the country, Rogue Ales, sells most of its beer in 22-ounce bottles, too big for Alabama.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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