I am informed by Free the Hops representatives that Alabama Gov. Bob Riley has in fact signed House Bill 373, which raises the state alcohol limit for beer to 13.9 percent by volume. The state's limit was previously six percent, the lowest in the nation. FTH officials were quoted as saying they were "elated" at the news.
Reports yesterday said that higher-alcohol specialty and gourmet beers had already begun appearing on Alabama store shelves, just a few days after Riley signed the bill. The owner of Birmingham Beverage was quoted as saying that he had agreements in place with small breweries before the governor signed, and obtained state agency approval to sell the new beers as soon as possible. The picture on the right shows an employee loading cases of the new products for shipment, or possibly stealing one of them for his own personal use, but probably the former.
Clearly, the state now faces "sheer disaster," as Sen. Hank Erwin warned last week in opposing the bill. Almost immediately after the new brew became available, two murders and one bank robbery were reported, all presumably related to excessive consumption of Belgian ale. Also, crude oil prices rose to $66 a barrel, insurance rates for coastal dwellers went up 5.5 percent, and the U.S. government embarked on "the road to socialism," according to U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby. These also happened after the bill became law, and so were also potentially caused by it, or at least you can't prove they weren't.
Honestly, that's about all I could find today -- things seem pretty good in Alabama overall. But I'm sure the disastrous consequences of more powerful beer will become apparent shortly.
Link: Birmingham News