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#1
Old 09-26-2007, 09:36 AM
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Does the alcohol content of beer vary from state to state?

At "real beer dot com" there is a list of the percentage of alcohol in most beers. For example it lists Budweiser at 5.0%, Bud Lite at 4.2% and Heineken at 5.4%.

However, I have been told by friends of mine that in certain states the alcohol percentage of beer varies due to the local law. So you have people crossing state lines to buy stronger brewskis. Is this true? If so, does that mean that somewhere Bud and Bud Lite is being brewed specifically for individual states? Is it still "Bud" if its made differently (and thus must taste differently)? Also, how would this work for imported beers like Heineken? Surely no German brewer worth his yeast would change his formula just so he can sell his suds in, say... Oklahoma.

So whats the straight dope? Can I find some brew somewhere labled "Budweiser" thats actually 3.5%? (Not that I'd want to of course.) Or is there some other way that major brewers comply with certain states (water down the beer?) OR - are my friends misinforming me?

??
#2
Old 09-26-2007, 09:47 AM
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Kansas has long had a law saying beer sold in grocery stores and such is limited to 3.2%. (So strong beer became known as "liquor store beer" because that was about the only place you could get it. I don't remember what taverns were allowed to sell.) I've heard that brewers simply watered down their regular product to meet such limits, but I don't know that.
#3
Old 09-26-2007, 09:51 AM
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Utah has similar laws, as did Colorado at one time. It's generally 3.2 beer, which lacks a lot of flavor as well as alcohol to my palate.
#4
Old 09-26-2007, 10:24 AM
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Colorado still has 3.2, it's the only thing available in grocery and convenience stores. Also all that's sold on Sunday (except in bars).

Freakin' blue laws.
#5
Old 09-26-2007, 10:44 AM
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I remember the cool Colorado night
But there was something I forgot
In these big Rocky Mountains where there's so much to do
It's hard to get drunk on 3.2
If it's CU Boulder or BYU
It's hard to get drunk on 3.2

-Nat Keffe
#6
Old 09-26-2007, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newton72
So you have people crossing state lines to buy stronger brewskis. Is this true?
I'm currently sitting in Evanston, Wyoming (3 miles from the Utah border) where the "Utah Army" seems to commute every weekend to by case after case of beer (and fireworks). It is a whole industry here.
#7
Old 09-26-2007, 03:39 PM
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The higher alcohol beers are available in all the states. The places licensed to sell what the various strengths is what varies.
#8
Old 09-26-2007, 03:43 PM
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We've never had exclusively 3.2, all the regular strength brews are available 6 days a week, before midnight, at a liquor store. Used to be the drinking age for 3.2 was 18 and 21 for harder stuff, but when they raised the age to 21 they didn't change the laws for selling 3.2. So now we have one type available at the local mini-mart (even on Sunday).
We can't buy wine at the grocery store, either. Maybe if they made a 3.2 wine.
#9
Old 09-26-2007, 03:54 PM
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In Kansas, 3.2 is only for grocery stores and gas stations, so you can get the real stuff in liquor stores. However, in Oklahoma things are a little different. 3.2 is the only cold beer available outside a bar. So, you walk into a liquor store, you can buy cold bud light at 3.2 or warm imports. Now it seems the domestic brewers have decided they would rather sell cold lady beer than warm full strength. At that point it must not be worth it to bring two kinds of the same brew into the state (perhaps by law) so I'm not sure you can buy full strength Bud or Coors anywhere in Oklahoma, including a bar.
#10
Old 06-05-2012, 04:40 PM
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Yes, there can be a difference!

Yes, the content can vary. Many states have set a lower limit for beer sold anywhere other than in state run liquor stores.

Kansas allows only 3.5% or lower to be sold outside of the package store, while Colorado sets the limit at 3.2%. Wikipedia has a good listing of the rules and regulations.
#11
Old 06-05-2012, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggie80 View Post
Yes, the content can vary. Many states have set a lower limit for beer sold anywhere other than in state run liquor stores.

Kansas allows only 3.5% or lower to be sold outside of the package store, while Colorado sets the limit at 3.2%. Wikipedia has a good listing of the rules and regulations.
Yes, we know.

We read the thread. Five years ago.
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#12
Old 06-05-2012, 07:27 PM
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Here's some new information from April 2012. I've never seen a 8% beer before.
Quote:
Mississippi beer drinkers celebrated Monday when governor Phil Bryant signed into law a bill that raises the alcohol-by-weight limit in beer from 5% to 8%.
http://realbeer.com/blog/?p=2430

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-05-2012 at 07:27 PM.
#13
Old 06-05-2012, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Here's some new information from April 2012. I've never seen a 8% beer before.

http://realbeer.com/blog/?p=2430
That's happened in a few other states too. Basically, some of the higher ABV microbrews are running afoul of laws targeted at malt liquor and other "wino drinks", but I guess they've decided that if they're "gourmet" they're okay The Sam Adams imperial beers are probably the most widely distributed high ABV craft beers.
#14
Old 06-05-2012, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobotheoptimist View Post
Colorado still has 3.2, it's the only thing available in grocery and convenience stores. Also all that's sold on Sunday (except in bars).

Freakin' blue laws.
Liquor stores (and some grocery stores and pharmacies) are open on Sunday in Colorado and sell normal strength beer, wine and liquor, but beer in all other stores is 3.2. But, of course, that wasn't the case when this thread was originally started several years ago.

Bob

Last edited by urban1a; 06-05-2012 at 10:09 PM. Reason: Qualified my statements
#15
Old 06-05-2012, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Here's some new information from April 2012. I've never seen a 8% beer before.

http://realbeer.com/blog/?p=2430
We've had Steel Reserve available here in Arizona for quite some time now. It's even available in supermarkets at a full 8.1% strength. It's a malt liquor, so it's popularly priced, about the same as Old English or similar malts. I've had some. It goes down pretty easy and isn't too harsh. I don't feel hung over or like I'm about to get sick after a couple of them.
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