Add High-Gravity Beer To Wine In Grocery Stores Bills

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Craft beer is booming in Chattanooga. With multiple annual beer festivals, five breweries with at least two more set to open this year, several growler shops and beer-centric pubs and restaurants, and a booming homebrewer community, Chattanooga is well-positioned to climb the charts as one of our nation's best beer cities --heck, livability.com thinks we're already in the Top 10. 

But there's an important roadblock to all this progress: Tennessee's antiquated and arcane beer cap. Beer in Tennessee is defined as a fermented malt beverage containing 5 percent or less alcohol by weight (~6.2 percent abv). Any beer above that cap is defined as "high-gravity beer" and can only be purchased in liquor stores. Many of these liquor stores simply choose not to carry beer or they otherwise relegate beer to hot and dusty back shelves. While we're lucky to have some exceptions in Chattanooga, they are few and far between. 

HB47 and HB610 are finally moving forward in the Tennessee House. These bills aim to allow wine in grocery stores. These are important bills that not only allow Chattanooga consumers more choices, but also keep us from driving just across the Georgia state line to enjoy a wider (and cheaper) selection of wine any day of the week. These bills deserve our support and I know many of you have already written your local legislator to encourage passage. 

What these bills are missing is language to allow the sale of high-gravity beers in grocery stores as well. With the bills as they are currently written, later this year, you might walk into your local grocery store and see a brand new aisle of nothing but wine --wines ranging up to 18 percent alcohol by volume. Unfortunately, the beer cooler will look exactly the same. You'll still be limited to around 6.2 percent alcohol by volume. If you want a wider selection, you'll have to go to a liquor store --one that actually carries beer. 

I often hear the question, "Why can't we get 'Really Awesome Brewery' beers in Chattanooga?" It's simple: most breweries have a wide range of beers that run the gamut from low gravity to high gravity. If they can't sell their full portfolio here without distributing to different types of stores and navigating tricky tax code, why bother? Fort Oglethorpe is just across the border and they'll sell anything a brewery throws at them.  

Please, take just a few moments and write your local legislator. Let them know that we need high gravity beer added to the language in HB47 and HB610. 

Brad Lumley


Remembering Mitch Beard On Memorial Day

A little over two years ago, my friend Mitchell "Mitch" Beard passed away from injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident at 24 years old. This was not as it should be. Mitch had made it through war. He was a combat-decorated United States Marine who served in Afghanistan. I first met Mitch when I was a college student at Tennessee Temple in 2004. Mitch’s parents, Steve ... (click for more)

Trump's Messaging

I have been an ardent supporter of Trump since he first entered the race.  O'Reilly's special with him last evening, which I saw very early this morning, has turned me around and left me on empty.  Thanks to Bill, he finally was successful in goading Trump to explain what he plans to do specifically to put his expressed commitments to the people in place if he is elected. ... (click for more)

Large Hole Develops In Lane Of I-24 Eastbound Over Chestnut Street; Emergency Repair Undertaken

A large hole developed in the I-24 eastbound bridge over Chestnut Street in Chattanooga on Sunday evening. Jennifer Flynn of TDOT said, "The hole is such that we are having to close a lane to protect traffic.  This will cause a significant backup in traffic, especially given the holiday.  "This is the same bridge, but different location that we recently did an emergency ... (click for more)

12 Lost Hikers Rescued At Rainbow Lake, Edwards Point

Eleven adults and a child were briefly lost at Rainbow Lake and Edwards Point trails on Signal Mountain on Sunday. A 911 call was made at 9:45 p.m. from one of the hikers reporting the group lost sunlight hiking out of the trails at Edwards Point. Th Signal Mountain Fire Department and the Walden's Ridge Emergency Services have responded to the scene to ... (click for more)

Seth Ruhling Wins Chattanooga Chase 8K And One Mile

It has been six years since Seth Ruhling ran the Chattanooga Chase and maybe he had forgotten just how tough that 8K course really is, but that’s didn’t seem to matter Monday morning as he celebrated Memorial Day with victory in the Chattanooga Track Club’s oldest race. Ruhling graduated from Collegedale Academy in 2013 and is now a 21-year-old student at Southern Adventist ... (click for more)

Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Football Classic Set For Saturday at CCS

The 13th Annual Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Football Classic, presented by Great Clips, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday June 4 at Chattanooga Christian School in Chattanooga. Tennessee defeated Georgia 38-14 last June at McCallie School in Chattanooga. It was Tennessee's fourth consecutive victory in the series that dates back to the first game held at Ridgeland High in ... (click for more)