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Will the (Gourmet) Beer Man Cometh??

29 March 2007

This is an Alabama-wide issue, but what affects the state affects us in Birmingham.  I just this afternoon received the following email from Free The Hops (FTH) – Alabamians For Specialty Beer.  I encourage you to consider FTH President, Danner Kline’s plea and track down YOUR representative/senator in Montgomery and let them know (Friday, if possible) that you support this bill.  My senator is Steve French, who is listed as an author of the Senate Bill… so my call will be to one of the choir leaders.  It is important that YOU to call, especially if your representative/senator is not listed as an author.

This bill allows beer alcohol content to be allowed to match ordinary table wine and to be sold in larger containers.  For instance, right now it is illegal in Alabama to for a Fosters “Oil Can” (25.4 oz.) to be sold anywhere in our state.  I can, however, head over to Georgia to make the purchase… but I’d rather not, so just go without. (note from Danner… “… note that our bill does NOT address container size.  That is misinformation […] We do intend to address the container limit later, but the current bill does nothing but address the ABV limit.”)

Don’t take my word for that this is a good thing for Alabama, read the actual text of the House Bill (HB195) and decide for yourself.

As many of you probably read in the Birmingham News or the Huntsville Times last Thursday, our House bill (HB195) passed the House Tourism committee on March 21st. And now today, our Senate bill (SB211) passed the Senate Tourism committee. A bill’s passage through committee is a critical step in the process to becoming law. But the biggest news I have to announce is that our House bill has been put on the calendar for a floor vote this Tuesday, April 3rd. That means Tuesday will be the single most critical day in the history of Free The Hops. Our bill must pass a vote in the House to become law. If HB195 passes the floor vote Tuesday, it will then proceed to the Senate, where it will go through a Senate comittee before being voted on by the full Senate body. At which point we expect Governor Riley would sign it, and all your favorite Trappist ales and American double IPAs will hit the shelves of fine retailers across the state.Hopefully I have conveyed how pivotal Tuesday, April 3rd is for the FTH campaign. It is absolutely crucial that everyone who gets this newsletter calls his or her Representative before the House convenes Tuesday morning. Please have a conversation with your Rep. If you can manage an email too, do that as well. Even if you have already written and/or called, you need to do it again now. If you already know your Rep supports our bill, call to thank them for their support, and tell them you are looking forward to seeing the passage of the Gourmet Beer Bill reported in the news Tuesday evening. If you know your Rep is opposed to our bill, call and politely convey that as a voter you hope they’ll reconsider. Make sure they understand the bill will bring a better selection of expensive gourmet beer, and that 46 other states already have these beers available. And the data proves there is no link between the availability of these beers and underage drinking. NO LINK. They are too expensive and the flavors are too strong.There is a vocal anti-alcohol opposition that will be making a last-ditch effort to stop our bill from passing. They will be making phone calls and personal visits to members of the House in an attempt to convince them HB195 is bad legislation. Their only argument is that the beers we’re trying to legalize will appeal to underage drinkers. That is simply not true, and we have the data to prove it. Please see http://www.freethehops.org/UnderageDrinking.php if you haven’t already.

We need the phone calls and emails from supporters of HB195 to drown out the phone calls from the anti-alcohol opposition. Make your voice heard, and Wednesday morning you can enjoy reading about The Gourmet Beer Bill being sent from the House to the Senate.

It’s time to liberate beer in Alabama.

The following link will help you identify who your Representative is:
http://www.legislature.state.al.us/house/house_zipsearch.html

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