I couldn’t sleep last night. I started reading beer articles and I don’t know why it took so long for me to consider this, but in my exhausted state it dawned on me that barely any craft breweries are participating in the 3.2%ABV ceiling-law that’s currently in place for Colorado grocery and convenient stores. I’m not sure why that is. I mean, why is it that we don’t see lots of craft breweries making these lower ABV beers so that they can reach a wider audience? It’s certainly not because beer that is 3.2% is no good. In fact, there are plenty of examples of good beers with similar or lower alcohol by volume percentages. For example Rockyard’s Rock Weisser, part of their Homebrewers Gone Wild series, is a tasty Berliner Weisse at 3%. Many Berliner Weisse beers sit at that percentage. I’ve had some great Mild Ales that sat around 3.2-3.5%. I’ve also had a BrewDog 1.1% hop bomb, which was actually kinda fun to drink if I’m being honest with myself. It’s funny to think I could drink 16 of those and perhaps only get dizzy from too many hops. There’s plenty more examples of course, including some Blonde Ales, Brown Ales, Bitters, and Pale Ales. Here’s an article from Beer Today that reports a number of beers that were brewed specifically to be 2.8% or below and still be impressive.
Do breweries want to distribute to the local liquor shops only? If this 3.2% law remains on the shelf, doesn’t it seem likely a brewery could make a good amount of money, or at least expand interest in craft beer, by offering quality beer that meets the regulations of what can be sold in grocery/convenient stores? Maybe the American public just won’t accept low alcohol craft beer? That’s too bad, if that’s the case.
What are your thoughts? Maybe, I’ll ask a few brewers these questions so we can get an idea of what they think. Also, I’d be very curious to hear from Breckenridge and Boulder, who I believe do indeed make lighter versions of certain beers in order to sell their beer in these stores. Seems like there should be a lot more available though.