States are raising caps on the alcohol content of beer, setting limits as high as 16% by volume in moves to appease the microbrew industry. Alabama and West Virginia raised their limits this year, while Vermont and Montana adjusted theirs last year; and lobbying is under way in Iowa and Mississippi.
Alcohol-abuse groups are not terribly excited: “There's no evidence that people will drink fewer beers" if they are more alcoholic, the president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse tells USA Today. The head of the national Brewers Association responded that alcohol limits restrict the flavor possibilities for exotic microbrews, also known as craft beers. Besides, he added, craft beer fans "don't drink to get drunk. They drink to appreciate the flavors."