COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- There's an effort to allow Ohioans to drink stronger beer.

State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) re-introduced legislation that would allow brewers to produce and sell beer containing up to 21 percent alcohol by volume.

“The brewing industry is one of the few sectors that continued to experience growth through the recession. It is time Ohio abandons unnecessary regulations that put us at a competitive disadvantage with other states and do whatever we can to encourage the further growth of these businesses,” said Ramos.

Craft brewers currently provide an estimated 108,000 jobs nationally and the industry has seen double digit growth over much of the last decade, with more breweries operating in 2012 than at any time since the 1880s.

“With other higher-proof options already available on Ohio’s store shelves, often at a cheaper cost to the consumer, this archaic government regulation just doesn’t make sense,” said Ramos. “It needlessly holds back Ohio brewers from having the freedom to experiment with new products, a restriction not faced by brewers in neighboring states.”

Ohio last raised it's alcohol by volume cap in 2002 when it doubled from 6 percent to 12 percent. Nationally, fewer than 10 states limit the allowable alcohol in beer and of Ohio’s neighboring states, only West Virginia has a set maximum.

This legislation was first introduced for consideration in 2011, with 8 co-sponsors. Since that time, the legislation has gained bipartisan support, with 20 co-sponsors from all parts of the state.

The bill would delay the new level for a year after passage to allow Ohio-based brewers a chance to develop products in the 12-21 percent category.

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