Alcohol cap lifted in Ohio

The selection of alcohol on tap at Ray’s Place is featured on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. 

Keely Kennedy

Ohio’s 12-percent cap on alcohol in beer has been lifted.

In May 2016, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 37, which did away with the 12 percent alcohol by volume cap, allowed open container districts and set new labeling requirements for high-alcohol brews of beer.

House Bill 37 — which went into effect Aug. 31 — is designed to help grow the state’s booming craft beer industry.

With higher alcohol content comes higher risk for students looking to kick back with a few brews.

Sierra Baker, a health educator at University Health Services, provided insight to the risks that are involved with increasing the alcohol content in drinks.

“You have to be aware of how it will affect your drinking style,” Baker said. “With stronger drinks comes an impairment to judgment.”

According to a survey done by the National College Health Assessment on campus, in the past 30 days, 58 percent of men and 65 percent of women participated in drinking.

While most of the bars and breweries implementing this new lift on beverages are scattered across Ohio, there are some participating locally as well.

Ray’s Place in downtown Kent is releasing Dogfish 120 to customers within the next week, sitting at a hefty 18 percent.

“The higher the content, you almost start getting into the wine category. The ultimate beer connoisseur will appreciate it,” said Charlie Thomas, Ray’s Place manager.

Thomas included that with customers consuming this higher content beverage, there would definitely be a concern of whether the customers leaving their restaurant are driving or not.

As of September 2016, no other bars in downtown Kent have confirmed the sales of beers with higher alcohol content.

From a bar’s or brewery’s perspective, allowing a high alcohol by volume means that they can begin aging better quality beer for purchase.

“The increase in ABV allowance will allow us to begin barrel aging beers for future sale. These sit 3-12 months in a bourbon, whiskey or rye barrel and tend to be higher alcohol,” said Paul Benner, owner and chief brewing Officer of Platform Beer Co.

As for the students of Kent State, the opinions about this new implementation vary.

“I think that it’s a good idea because it gives an opportunity for breweries to expand what they are able to brew. Higher alcohol content in beer can actually bring out the flavors in a lot of different beers,” said senior nursing major Gabrielle Nedrow.

With a stronger ABV comes a higher price for the drink itself, which seems to be a swaying factor for some students.

Other students didn’t really show a preference on what they were consuming.

“I don’t really drink based on the alcohol content of a drink, I just drink what I feel like drinking,” said senior entrepreneurship major Trevor O’ Sullivan

Baker said that Health Services provides a plethora of resources and brochures on this topic.

There are also alcohol workshops once a month for students to participate in. Here, the students will be educated on the risks and facts of alcohol consumption.

Baker said when it comes to consuming these higher ABV drinks, “You just have to be safe about it.”

This new implementation is sure to have a positive effect on business growth, but as for the people participating – you just have to make the responsible choice.

Contact Keely Kennedy at [email protected].