February 13, 2011; Source: Sun Herald | Prohibition might have ended for the nation in 1933, but it took another three decades to lift the ban on alcohol sales in Mississippi. But a nonprofit that promotes the quaffing of the world's best beers thinks that the state still needs to catch up with alcohol laws in the rest of the nation.
Specifically, Raise Your Pints Mississippi, which bills itself as a grass-roots nonprofit organization, and whose vision "is a Mississippi with a world class beer culture," wants the state to raise the permitted level of alcohol on beer sold in the state. Current law limits beer with alcohol by weight (ABW) to 5 percent. That means specialty beer with an ABW ranging from 8 percent to 13 percent can't be sold in Mississippi. “The 5 percent ABW limit excludes approximately 1/3 of the world’s beer styles, some of them the finest, highest quality beverages on Earth,” according to the group's website, raiseyourpints.com.
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Although the group's president, Butch Bailey, says talks with state legislators about changing the law are going well, he's not expecting to toast a legislative victory this year. “It’s an election year," says Bailey. "The way the Mississippi Legislature works, there’s not much of anything controversial when it comes to an election year. They just don’t want to deal with it.” For now, it looks like Bailey and other beer drinkers in the state will have to drown their sorrows with their 5 percent beer.—Bruce Trachtenberg