House panel approves high-alcohol beer sales
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Beer connoisseurs could find their favorite specialty brews that have high alcohol content resting on shelves and flowing from taps at local bars under a bill that cleared a House subcommittee Wednesday.
The House Judiciary Special Laws Subcommittee approved a bill that allows sales of beer with up to 14 percent alcohol-by-volume content. That's more than twice the current 6 percent limit.
Businesses that want to make money selling the so-called "gourmet" beers say they can bring more tax money to the state. The beers can cost up to $10 a bottle.
"They're very much akin to fine wines," said David Smith, owner of Green's Discount Beverage Stores, which has locations in Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach and Atlanta.
Georgia and North Carolina have both changed laws in the past couple of years to allow stronger beer sales. Smith said that's tapped a huge market.
For instance, he says 50,295 cases of "gourmet beers" were sold in the last six months of 2005 in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
The legislation now moves to the full House Judiciary Committee.
I don't like beer really, but maybe I should give it another chance. ;-)