Efforts to repeal 77 year old Maine beer law

9:17 AM, Feb 5, 2014   |    comments
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BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- An all but forgotten law is causing a raucous in the brewing world. The 77 year old law bans bars from highlighting the ABV or alcohol content of a brew. A recent health inspection at Bangor's Nocturnem Draft Haus caused this antiquated law to come back to life.  And many bars across the state are having to get rid of menus, take down ABVs or in some cases cross it out to comply. 

This affects many bars featuring craft beers which have an average alcohol content of about 10-percent. Nocturnem Draft Haus has some reaching 19-percent. 

The law was originally put in place to keep brewers from highlighting their strongest beers which lawmakers thought would encourage irresponsible drinking, but many nowadays disagree.

Nocturnem owner Gene Beck said, "It's not hurting anybody...It does not promote overindulgence. You know? It doesn't promote, 'Oh my god they have the biggest, baddest, strongest beer on the planet.  We are going to get in there and get hammered.' That is not the intent of it. The intent of it is to help people make responsible choices."

State lawmakers are pushing an emergency bill that would repeal the aged law. Some lawmakers worry it could hurt one of Maine's growing industries, craft breweries.  

State Representative Louis Luchini of Ellsworth, "A lot of the new craft breweries, it is a budding industry in Maine. They need to put that information out there, they feel that they should because it could help a consumer make a smart decision and drink responsibly." 

According to Representative Luchini, the emergency bill It will be heard in the next couple of weeks. Until then, bar owners, like Gene Beck, will be pulling menus and finding new ways to inform patrons.

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