Alcohol

Ohio Laws May Hamper Local Liquor Boom

May 20, 2015
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Ohio is seeing a boom in locally-made products. Communities around the state are enjoying the local coffee scene and the newest craft brew. One of the fastest growing industries is the local liquor scene. But a slew of antiquated rules might be hampering the movement.

Greg Lehman has become an expert at showing off his company.

“We’re running our distillery today. We’ll crash cool it down and once it’s cold then we add the yeast. The yeast doesn’t like it too hot so that yeast will attack the sugar and it will convert the sugar into alcohol,” Lehman said.

The Las Vegas strip has an open alcohol policy, which is what Ohio legislators hope could become possible in some cities here.
Spreng Ben / Flickr/Creative Commons

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Senate has passed a bill to allow people to carry alcoholic beverages outside as they visit restaurants and bars in certain designated areas.

The proposal would allow cities with populations of more than 35,000 to create entertainment districts, where Ohio's open container law wouldn't apply. Patrons with a beer or alcoholic drink from one of the district's establishments could carry it with them outside as they visit other district businesses. The size of the municipal entertainment districts could not exceed a half mile.

Legislation in the Ohio House would allow production and sale of beer with higher alcohol content in the state.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that House Bill 391 would increase the maximum percentage from 12 to 21 percent. Democratic Rep. Dan Ramos has been promoting the measure, saying Ohio brewers need to be able to use the higher alcohol content to compete with beer in other states. The higher-alcohol beer couldn't have caffeine or other stimulants in it.

Ramos has bipartisan support from 20 co-sponsors in his latest effort to increase the beer's punch.