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Ohio liquor laws loosened to allow high-alcohol beer

Across the country, the explosion in craft breweries and distilleries has created increasing pressure for more lenient state liquor laws. The latest expansion in Ohio allows high-alcohol beer (over 12% alcohol by volume) to be made and sold in the state, thanks to a new law effective August 31 that lifted the previous cap.

For establishments already juggling multiple licenses, don't worry - the new law still categorizes high-alcohol beer as beer, not liquor, so you're not going to need yet another license if you add it to your tap roster.

The law does set new labeling requirements for beer with higher alcohol content, so watch for new labels when these beers hit the shelves.

Liquor laws on the move

In an era of experimental brewing, there are still plenty of restrictions that brewers and bars would like to see lifted.

The House has passed a bill (HB 444) that would allow holders of certain liquor permits to provide up to four free tasting samples of beer, wine or liquor to paying customers.

One niche bill in front of the Ohio Legislature (HB 555) would allow a business to both make and sell alcoholic ice cream (currently a business can only do one or the other).

But legislators in Ohio, as in other states, also appear to be intent on shutting down one type of experimental alcohol: HB 14, which has passed the House, would prohibit the sale of powered or crystalline alcohol, which has raised widespread worries about underage and binge drinking.

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