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I'm talking about selling 3.2 beer-- beer that has an alcohol-by-volume percentage of only 3.2-- well below the alcohol content contained in most beers have these days. "3/2 Beer" or "Near Beer," as it's jokingly been referred to over the years, is the only beer that's still legal for grocery stores to sell here in Minnesota.

And, Minnesota is one state that still sells 3.2 beer-- Colorado was being another one, as I found out when we were on vacation there a few years ago. And as recently as last year, 3.2 beer was also sold in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Utah, but they've all since allowed grocery stores to sell 'regular' beer now as well, leaving Minnesota as the lone holdout.

So why IS there 3.2 beer, anyway? Well, according to this TwinCities.com story, the reason for 3.2 beer dates back to Prohibition-- when selling and possessing any alcohol was illegal in the U.S. Minnesota's legislature back then tried to get around the law by passing its own state law that said any beverage with an alcohol percentage 3.2 or lower wasn't really an alcoholic beverage-- and, thus, could still be legally sold.

That's why you can still see 3.2 beer for sale in grocery stores in Minnesota. And, when buying 'high octane' beer was illegal on Sundays, I can see why 3.2 beer continued to occupy shelf space at stores across the state-- it was the only beer you could buy, even if it was weaker than your usual brew.

But, the story says sales of 3.2 beer today are flatter than a day-old can of Schiltz. And, since we're the ONLY state that still sells it, I'm wondering why the big breweries still bother to even MAKE 3.2 beer at all anymore.

By contrast, most beers today have alcohol percentages waaaay higher than 3.2 percent. Heck, even a regular light beer, like Coors Light or Miller Lite, comes in at around 4.2 percent, and for some craft beers (especially some IPA's), the alcohol by volume percentage can be nearly twice that amount or higher.

So will 3.2 beer finally go the by the wayside here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes? Only time will tell, I guess. But here's to you, Minnesota, for holding onto it for a long as we can!

Listen to Curt St. John mornings from 6 to 10 a.m. on Quick Country 96.5
and afternoons from 2 to 6 p.m. on 103.9 The Doc

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