PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Requirement that the labels for "strong beer" list the alcohol content.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 66.08.030, 66.24.330, 66.24.371.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: SB 5051, effective July 1, 2003, allows strong beer to be distributed by private distributors and to be sold by grocery stores, beer/wine specialty shops, beer/wine restaurants, beer/wine private clubs, and taverns ("strong beer" is defined in law as a malt beverage containing more than 8% alcohol by weight or approximately 10% by volume). Previously, strong beer could only be sold to-go in liquor stores. Currently consumers are accustomed to beer being approximately 3.5% to 5.5% alcohol by weight. With the passage of this law, beer now has no upper limit and the range of alcohol content is much greater. We believe it is important that consumers are aware of the alcohol content for strong beer, which is outside the range that has been traditionally available in grocery/convenience stores.
Process for Developing New Rule: Input from retail licensees, local governments, and other interested parties will be obtained through series of notices and at least one public hearing.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Teresa Berntsen, Rules Coordinator, P.O. Box 43080, Olympia, WA 98504-3080, (360) 664-1648, fax (360) 704-4921, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 20, 2003
Merritt D. Long