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3.2 beer in 2016 | by Thomas Cizauskas
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3.2 beer in 2016

An interesting development of the 8 November elections ...

 

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So-called "3.2 beer" refers to beer containing a low amount of alcohol: 3.2% abw or less, that is, 3.2 percentage alcohol-by-WEIGHT (usually referred to with the acronym, "abw"). Most breweries, however, measure alcohol in a beverage NOT by WEIGHT but as a percentage of the VOLUME of the beverage (usually presented as the acronym, "abv").

 

3.2% abw is the equivalent of 4% abv.

 

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In 2015, because of varying laws, regulations, restrictions, and/or constitutional requirements, five states still required the sale of 3.2 beer under various circumstances: 56% of all 3.2 beer sold in the United States was sold in Oklahoma; 29% in Utah; 7% in Kansas; 4% in Colorado; and 3% in Minnesota.

 

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In Oklahoma, for example, grocery stores and convenience stores can only sell "low-point beer" (defined by the legislature as beer with an alcohol content by weight of 3.2 percent or less). The beer may be refrigerated and sales are allowed any day of the week from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. of the next day.

 

Package liquor stores can sell liquor, wine and full-strength beer only at room temperature. Sales are only allowed between 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

 

But on 8 November 2016, Oklahoma voters voted in favor of State Question 792 (by 66% to 34%), which allows for wine and "full-strength beer" (defined as beers of not more than 8.99 percent by VOLUME) to be sold in grocery and convenience stores.

 

Getting specific:

 

Grocery, convenience stores, and drug stores would be able to sell cold regular beer (with an alcohol beverage volume of up to 8.99 percent by VOLUME) and wine (with an alcohol beverage volume up to 15 percent by VOLUME). Sales would be allowed any day of the week, from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. of the following day.

 

Liquor stores would be able to sell cold full-strength beer, wine and spirits, and sell them later at night – from 10 a.m. to midnight Monday to Saturday. They would still be closed Sundays, although that could be changed by the Legislature before the measure takes effect. Liquor stores also could sell other products, such as food and bottle openers, as long as the sales don’t exceed 20 percent of their monthly revenue.

 

The measure goes into effect in 2018, and Colorado already plans to do away with 3.2 beer in 2019

 

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Once that happens, will AB InBev, Pabst, et al., even continue to make 3.2 beer (for Utah, Kansas, and Minnesota)? And furthermore: what the heck are alcohol limits even doing in the Oklahoma's constitution? Shouldn't that document be reserved for basic governmental structure and protection of basic civil rights?

 

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▶Graphic adapted from Fox 13 TV (Salt Lake City, Utah), 9 November 2016.

▶ Uploaded by Yours For Good Fermentables.com.

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Uploaded on November 14, 2016