On Wednesday, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford signed legislation raising SC's legal alcohol level in beer to 14% by weight (that's 17.5% by volume, placing the new limit a full 2.5% above that of North Carolina). This is great news for brewers and beer drinkers in the Palmetto State, many of whom have been making regular trips to North Carolina and Georgia to obtain speciality beer. Many of us in Asheville recall the hassle of travelling to Georgia and Tennessee to get select beers prior to NC's repeal in 2005 of similar arcane legislation. With the latest lifting of these nonsensical laws, only three states still impose arbitrary limits on beer alcohol levels: Alabama, Mississippi, and West Virginia.
It will be awhile before the higher-alcohol beers begin showing up on SC shelves, as distributors must go through a permitting process. But please join me in raising a glass to the folks at popthecapsc.org who made this happen.