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, 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

Thoughts On Immigration And Vetting

Just a thought on allowing refugees and immigrants into the country without vetting them.  If several people knocked on your front door, would you swing wide the door and let them in, without knowing anything about them?   Why not just take the door down?  Bob Bogart (click for more)

East Ridgers Are Thankful For Unity

As East Ridge continues its development and resurgence, alumni and supporters are grateful for their hometown, their schools and their community.  Even those that have moved away, still have their hearts and minds in East Ridge and its people.   Amazing things happen when good folks pull together.  Heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all that have participated, contributed ... (click for more)

Man Shot And Killed In Alton Park On Tuesday Night

A man was shot and killed in Alton Park on Tuesday night. The incident happened in the 3800 block of Highland Avenue. Chattanooga Police initially said they had no suspects. Police chaplains were on the scene to try to comfort the grieving family. The incident happened around 6 p.m.  (click for more)

Judge Denies Motion By Walker County To Delay Closing Of Hutcheson Hospital

A bankruptcy judge in Atlanta on Tuesday denied a motion by Walker County, Ga., is asking a delay in closing Hutcheson Medical Center and laying off employees. Judge Paul Bonapfel said he appreciated the position of Walker County, but he said he would not interfere with the business decision made by the trustees appointed to operate the Fort Oglethorpe hospital. He also said ... (click for more)

Tennessee Hangs On To Beat Lady Mocs, 59-57

KNOXVILLE – This was a basketball game of two halves here at Thompson-Boling Arena Monday night. The Tennessee Lady Vols won the first one while the Chattanooga Lady Mocs won the second, but when the final horn had sounded, the Lady Vols remained unbeaten after four games with a 59-57 victory. The Lady Mocs are now 3-2 for the young season. Te’a Cooper scored on a ... (click for more)

Heights Powered By Sharp-Shooting Canadians

The three Canadian prep basketball stars that transferred to Hamilton Heights prior to the 2015-16 season put on a strong shooting performance Tuesday afternoon in the Hawks’ 76-54 victory over Central Park in a game played at Birmingham Southern. Therren Szmidt, Shai Alexander and Nickeil Walker combined for 52 points and 19-of-35 shooting, including 9-of-17 from 3-point ... (click for more)