Will Cheek's Last Call Blog
Ring in the New Year by Forgetting About Tennessee’s Crazy High Gravity Beer Laws
On January 1, 2017, the legal definition of beer in Tennessee changes from 5% to 8% alcohol by weight. Meaning that beers with less than roughly 10% alcohol by volume no longer fall into that crazy category known as high gravity beer.
In Tennessee, beers stronger than 5% by weight or around 6.5% by volume were taxed and distributed as alcoholic beverages. For consumers, it meant higher prices and not being able to buy a high grav beer at a grocery or convenience store.
No longer. Although there are a few serious suds stronger than 8% by weight, the vast majority of high gravity beers will magically become regular “beer” in the New Year. You can Kroger for high grav. You will no longer pay the 15% alcoholic beverage tax at restaurants and bars.
The ancient and odd (at least to us) New Year’s traditional tune Auld Lang Syne comes to mind:
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
The new law fails to anticipate a number of details, which we expect will confuse industry members for some time. But, please, everyone say thanks to the Tennessee Legislature for fixing the high gravity beer problem.