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Heather Steeves

Heather Steeves tries to do things that are fun -- and only things that are fun. So far that's included stilt walking, roller derby and cross-country road trips in her Saturn.

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Posted: February 11, 2014

Update: Maine lawmakers working to change flawed beer alcohol-content law

Written by: Heather Steeves

This was the chalk board at Three Tides in Belfast before an inspector told them they had to erase the alcohol content of each beer, per a 1937 law. Photo by Angelo De leso.

About a week ago, we broke a story about how in Maine it’s illegal for a bar to post the alcohol content of a beer – on a board, on a menu, anything. And yeah, although it’s technically illegal it happens at lots of bars. The rule dates to the 1930s.

In a world of 12+% alcohol-by-volume (ABV) beers, people need to know what they’re consuming. For safety reasons. Recently some liquor inspectors have been enforcing the outdated law. This forced some bars to scratch the ABVs off their menus and beer listings.

Louie J. Luchini (D-Ellsworth) co-chairs Maine’s Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs, which writes all Maine’s liquor laws. When I called Luchini to ask about the law, he said he wasn’t aware of it and agreed it needed to change.

Luchini – supported by seven democrats and one republican – submitted emergency legislation this week to change the old alcohol law. The bill will get a public hearing the week of Feb. 24,  Luchini said.

“So far I’ve only heard support for the bill. I’ve spoken to several legislators who have been contacted by their local brewpubs, breweries and restaurants, explaining how this is valuable consumer information. I hope they keep calling! We’ll hear from all sides at the public hearing,” Luchini said.

Three cheers for changing a law that doesn’t make sense to modern-day beer consumers.

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