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February 6, 2014

Feb. 6, 2014

For more information,
Contact: Lauren Christ
Moxley Carmichael
(865) 544-0088


Tennesseans successfully petitioned to “fix the beer tax” in 2013, and now in 2014, citizens across the state are working to “Fix the Beer Cap” as well.

In Tennessee, beer is defined as containing 5% or less alcohol by weight (ABW) or 6.2% or less alcohol by volume (ABV). Any beer over that limit is defined as “high gravity beer” and can only be purchased at state-licensed liquor stores, of which there are only 560 in the state. The most popular high gravity beers are between 6-12% ABW – less alcohol content than most wines and substantially lower than the 18% ABW wines permitted in the wine-in-grocery-stores legislation.

Tennessee has the most restrictive cap for beer in the Southeast and is one of only a handful of states in the country with such a limiting standard. Many states fall into the 12-14% range, while several have no cap at all.

“Our goal is to change the definition of beer so we may enjoy a better selection of delicious products easily accessible to responsible adult consumers,” said Jeff Knight, general manager for Knoxville-based Cherokee Distributing Company.

Tennessee’s cap on beer:

  • Limits consumer choice
  • Discourages craft beer entrepreneurs from building businesses in the state by constraining their ability to produce and market high gravity brews
  • Limits sales tax revenues to state and local governments

The “Fix the Beer Cap” campaign aims to raise awareness and support for a solution to this issue – the Beer Cap Reform Act of 2014. The act would raise the limit on alcohol in beer from 5% to 12%, recalibrating a Depression-era cap that now makes Tennessee’s beer laws the most regressive in the Southeast.

A “Fix the Beer Cap” rally will be held Friday, Feb. 7, from 4-7 p.m. at Central Flats & Taps, 1204 N. Central St., in downtown Knoxville. Linus Hall, founder and owner of popular Nashville-based Yazoo Brewing Company and president of the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild, will speak about the beer cap issues in Tennessee. Beer lovers and industry supporters will be encouraged to contact their state legislators to ask for support of the Beer Cap Reform Act of 2014. Everyone is invited to attend.

“We hope to see many of our friends and craft beer lovers at Friday’s rally to support our industry and this campaign,” Knight added. “We need our opinion to be heard in Nashville, and we will fix the beer cap!”

For more information about the “Fix the Beer Cap” campaign, visit