While a compromise moving through the state legislature would let grocery stores sell wine, high-gravity beer would be left out in the cold. Such brews pack potentially twice as much alcohol as regular beer. Fans say if wine makes its way to grocery shelves, high-gravity beer ought to as well.
Middle Tennessee has a burgeoning craft-beer scene, but grocery stores can’t sell many stronger kinds under the law, even if they’re less alcoholic than wine. That’s led to a call on Twitter, and a website called Fix The Beer Cap, to raise the limit on beer from 5 percent alcohol by weight to 12 percent.
“I don’t know exactly where the number needs to be,” says Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), pointing to some beer-snob favorites the law currently treats a lot like liquor:
“I know there a lot of consumers who want to purchase Chimay, Delirium Tremens, and they want to be able to able to get it with the convenience of a grocery store.”
Nashville’s Yazoo Brewing is spearheading the push. The company hopes to follow on the success of a legislative campaign last year to make Tennessee’s beer tax friendlier for craft brewers.
While it’s still technically possible a tweak to the beer cap could be added in as part of the wine-in-grocery-stores compromise, there is another bill that could potentially affect the change on its own. A sponsor of the measure says it’s too soon to give details.