High Gravity Beer Just Needs House Approval To Be Sold In Tennessee Grocery Stores

Backers of the push to sell high gravity beer in grocery stores say it didn't make sense not to, given this spring's deal to let such stores sell wine, which is typically stronger. (Photo: James Lee/flickr)

Backers of the push to sell high gravity beer in grocery stores say it didn’t make sense not to, given this spring’s deal to let such stores sell wine, which is typically stronger. (Photo: James Lee/flickr)

When lawmakers agreed this spring to let grocery stores sell wine, many thought they were done for the year legislating which stores can sell what alcohol.  Maybe not, though.  A bill to also let grocery stores sell high gravity beer is close to passing.

Right now beers stronger than 5 percent alcohol by weight are confined to liquor stores in Tennessee, but the measure would relax the threshold to 8 percent.  Linus Hall of Nashville’s Yazoo Brewing Company says it’s not clear exactly how many high gravity beers would become more available, but the answer is a lot:

“We haven’t actually done a study what’s in Tennessee, but I know our compadres down in Mississippi went through this issue about two years ago and by setting it at 8 percent by weight, they said that covered about 90 percent of the beers they were looking to get in the state.”

There is one caveat if the bill passes – it wouldn’t take effect until 2017.  Hall says that’s so the changes would settle out about the same time grocery stores are able to start selling wine.

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