5% Beer: New Law Means New Brews

Shelves of 4% craft beer at Harmons grocery store in October 2019. A new law went into effect on Nov. 1, 2019, that allows for Utah retailers to sell beer containing up to 5% alcohol by volume.
Shelves of 4% craft beer at Harmons grocery store in October 2019. A new law went into effect on Nov. 1, 2019, that allows for Utah retailers to sell beer containing up to 5% alcohol by volume.

For the first time in 86 years, beer drinkers are sipping 5% commercial brews on draft in Utah. They’re also picking up six-packs of the stronger beer at grocery and convenience stores around the state.

Since Prohibition ended, Utah law had required that beer above 4% alcohol by volume (ABV) be sold in state-run liquor stores. That changed on Nov. 1, 2019, when a new law went into effect allowing retail locations to sell beer containing up to 5% ABV.

Utah breweries went to work, reformulating most, if not all, their 4% beers. And many took the opportunity to develop brand new 5% beers, knowing that they could now be sold cold in grocery and convenience stores and on draft.

New 5% Beers

Here are a few new beers we came across:

  • 2 Row Brewing: Introducing a “lighter version” of its popular Farmhouse Ale, Dangereaux.
  • Kiitos Brewing: Barrel-aged Coconut Stout, Wild Path Amber Ale, and, Rimando Pale Ale on draft. Brewer Clay Turnbow redesigned his Northeast Pale Ale recipe to hit 5%  and has a 4.7% Pilsner that he says is his favorite of the new beers
  • Proper: A new Ahern Nut Brown and Salted Caramel Porter, in addition to higher ABV versions of Proper English Ale, Hopspital IPA, Lake Effect Gose, and Beckerman’s Brew Lager.
  • Wasatch Brewery: Pickup Lime Sour Ale and Island Hop Tropical IPA

For a complete rundown, please check out our article in Utah Stories. And for more on the switch to 5% ABV, visit our previous reporting on Utah Beer News.

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