Samuel Adams' new beer is illegal in 28 states. Here's why.

·2-min read
Samuel Adams releases new beer that is illegal in 28 states. (Photo: Getty Creative)
Samuel Adams releases new beer that is illegal in 28 states. (Photo: Getty Creative)

Samuel Adams just created a new beer that’s so strong, it’s illegal — in 28 states, at least.

The brand just released its 12th batch of Utopias beer, according to a press release from the company. Utopias, which is barrel-aged and released every two years, is described by the company as “a spirited blend of multiple batches of our extreme beers.” This particular batch was finished with 2,000 pounds of cherries and offers “subtle notes of honeyed apricot and caramel to the rich layers of flavor.”

The reason it’s illegal in 28 states, however, has to do with its alcohol by volume (ABV), which stands at 28%. By comparison, a typical beer is only 5% ABV, while spirits like vodka, rum, and tequila hover around 40% ABV.

Many states, such as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia, still have laws on the books, dating back to the Prohibition era, that caps beer at 5% ABV. However, many have argued that the laws are arbitrary and are limiting craft beer makers.

Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams, said of the brand’s latest arrival, "We pioneered the barrel-aging and blending process of Utopias almost thirty years ago and continue that time-honored tradition today. Since the introduction of Utopias in 2002, brewers have explored uncharted territory with each brew, experimenting with different kinds of aging barrels, new flavors, and different blending techniques. The result is always special, spirited, and worth waiting for."

For those who want to get their hands on a bottle (legally, of course) you’ll have to pay a bit more than your average six pack. A bottle of the latest batch of Utopias retails for a suggested price of $240.

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