Raleigh, N.C. — Malt beverages with more than 9 percent alcohol by volume would have to be sold in local Alcoholic Beverage Control stores under a bill filed by Rep. Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, Wednesday.
"These are basically just mixed drinks with just enough malt beverage in them to be sold in stores," said Starnes, the House majority leader. Although 15 percent alcohol by volume is higher alcohol than most beers and wines, it is lower than all but the lowest-alcohol by volume spirits sold in ABC stores.
The measure is aimed at beverages such as Stout 21, which recently ran into problems regarding its packaging with state liquor regulators. Such beverages take advantage of definitions in the statute governing beer sales, using a "malt beverage base" that can be little more than fermented sugar water. Flavors are then added later in the process.
Malt beverages with alcohol content similar to traditional beer nor traditional beers with alcohol contents between 9 and 15 percent would not be affected by the bill.