WV craft beer bill advances

From the Charleston (WV) Gazette:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After going flat in previous attempts, the House of Delegates Wednesday finally passed a bill to allow the sale of high-quality craft beers in West Virginia.

The legislation (HB2719) would raise the permissible maximum alcohol level for beer sold in the state from the current 6% by volume to 12%. It passed the House on a 79-17 vote and goes to the Senate.

House Judiciary Chairwoman Carrie Webster, D-Kanawha, said the current restrictions put the state at a competitive disadvantage, noting that the sale of craft beer and microbrews is a $5.8 billion a year industry nationally.

"West Virginia is one of only two states that continue to restrict distribution of beer to an alcohol content at or under 6%," she said, adding, "This bill is aimed at creating a market for these beers in West Virginia."

[Go here for the rest of the story.]

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