After some tireless work by a group of avid beer fans in Alabama called Free the Hops, on May 14th, the Alabama Senate passed bill HB373, which will raise the cap on the percentage of alcohol by volume from 6 percent to 13.9 percent. I ran into a few folks that came up from Alabama for the Dogfish Head Brunch on Sunday, and needless to say, they were very excited. The bill is currently sitting on the governor's desk. If the governor does not sign the bill by May 25th, it is considered a 'pocket veto' and the bill will die.
If you recall, North Carolina went through our own fight to pop the cap, and on August 13th, 2003, we went from 6 percent to 15 percent, significantly adding to the variety of beers we have available, as well as unleashing the creativity of our local brewers. Without this law, there would be no "Beer City USA" designation, no Thirsty Monk, no Pisgah Baptista, no visit from Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head (okay, I think you are catching my drift). Since that time, South Carolina has popped the cap as well, and early this year West Virginia did the same. That leaves Alabama and Mississippi as the only two states with severe limitations on alcohol content of beer.
So if you have relatives or friends in Alabama, please pass along the word for them to call or email the governor to show their support. Contact information can be found here.