- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill into law Tuesday that lifts long-standing limits on the alcohol content of beer brewed and sold within the Buckeye State.

By signing off on House Bill 37, the former Republican Party presidential hopeful agreed to remove restrictions that have prevented breweries and merchants alike from dealing with beer containing more than 12 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).

Ohio lawmakers last agreed to raise the ABV limit in 2002 from 6 percent ABV to 12 percent ABV, but Mr. Kasich’s signature will remove that cap altogether. In turn, breweries within the state will for the first time since prohibition be allowed to locally produce stronger drinks, and stores where beer is sold will be able to offer beverages that previously could only be acquired beyond the state’s borders.

The bill passed the state House last month by a 79-7 vote after clearing the Senate unanimously, and it will go into effect 90 day’s after the Mr. Kasich’s signature, the governor’s office said.

A co-sponsor of the bipartisan legislation, Republican State Rep. Mike Duffey, told colleagues when the House voted last month that the bill would be a boost to the state’s economy since it would allow nearly 200 breweries across Ohio to expand their options, Columbus Business First reported at the time.

“Brewing is an art form,” Mr. Duffey said. “Sometimes that can be high gravity (ABV) beers. These are not cheap. These are not easy to make. These are not easy to drink. These are sipping beers.”

“I think more and more people began to comprehend that this is a good industry, a thriving industry we want to encourage in Ohio,” Democratic State Rep. Dan Ramos told The Associated Press last month. “This is one of those anchor industries that entertainment districts tend to be built around. If you can get a good, successful brewery that people like, it can revitalize a whole neighborhood.”

Ohio Craft Brewers Association Executive Director Mary MacDonald told the Beacon Journal last month that the state’s 190 or so breweries employ nearly 2,500 people, and she said removing the ABV cap would allow those businesses to reinvest in Ohio amid a craft beer resurgence.

The craft beer industry generated $22.3 billion domestically during 2015, up nearly 13 percent from the year before, AP reported.

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