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More Lenient State Laws Could Chill Low-Alcohol Beer Market

Beer snobs in states where grocers could offer only low-alcohol brands are raising their mugs to stronger brews thanks to updated laws.

By TIM TALLEY, Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Beer snobs in states where grocers could offer only low-alcohol brands are raising their mugs to stronger brews thanks to updated laws.

But the changes could indirectly chill the industry in two others where such regulations remain.

Rules that went into effect in Oklahoma in October allow grocery, convenience and retail liquor stores to sell chilled beer with an alcohol content of up to 8.99 percent. Previously, grocery and convenience stores could offer only 3.2 percent beer. Liquor stores, where stronger beers were available, were prohibited from selling it cold.

Similar changes went into effect in Colorado Jan. 1 and will take effect in Kansas later this year. Now, Utah and Minnesota are the nation's only "baby beer" markets. That future of the nation's low-point beer market appears murky.

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