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Gourmet Bottle Law Makes Beer Drinkers Smile

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The shelves of your local beer store look different these days. Next to those basic beers in their 12 ounce bottles, you'll find bottles of limited edition craft beers, and those containers could be as big as a wine bottle.

The Gourmet Bottle Law went into effect in Alabama this week, and it means hundreds of small brewery craft beers are now available to the state's beer lovers.  The gourmet beers come in bottles ranging from 16.9 ounces, through 22 ounces up to 750 milliliters. Many small brewers say large bottles are the only containers they use.

Beer stores have been stocking the new beers this week, and the folks looking for them have been happily shopping.

"It's given me the opportunity to have friends over. We can pop a couple open and share them and talk about the taste," said Eddie Yessick of Huntsville. "We enjoy beer because we like the taste of beer."

Everyone who's excited about the new Alabama law says craft beers aren't the same as the basic beers most people are used to.

"It's just good beer, well-made beer. It's not mass produced. A lot of these bottles, you can only get them certain times of the year. People just like to drink good beer," says Chris Grimes at Huntsville's Liquor Express and Craft Beers.

North Alabama features a growing number of craft beer makers, and they too are excited about the big bottle format coming to the state.

"For me, the large format bottles equate what we're doing. For us, we're going to do special beers with a lot of flavor, something you can age in your cellar for a year or two and it will slowly change," says Dan Perry of Straight To Ale, a Huntsville brewery.

Aging beer might be a strange concept to most people, but the idea of great tasting beer isn't.  Now, there are hundreds of new beers to test.

Just remember, they're not cheap. Bottles can range from $6 up to $16 or more. On the other hand, the bottles are big.