Why One Samuel Adams Beer Is Banned In 15 States

Why would certain states resort to prohibition-like behavior and ban beer? The restriction and banning of alcoholic products existed in 1808 in the form of the temperance movement, the practice of moderation or abstinence from alcohol started by a church in Saratoga County, New York, per Beer Advocate. The need for grain in World War I in 1917 triggered extreme alcohol controls, which eventually turned into prohibition. Although we have long since bid the 18th Amendment farewell, liquor restrictions still exist, even if only in isolated pockets like the "Midwestern and Southern Bible Belt," per The Mob Museum, or on specific types and brands of booze.

Absinthe was banned in 1912 because it drove people to aberrant behavior, per Distillery Rail. Five Wives vodka is prohibited in Idaho because the Mormon community found it offensive, and grain alcohol liquors that contain high amounts of alcohol (with an ABV of 95% or more) are deemed illegal in an attempt to curtail sexual violence (per Spirit Business). More recently, vodka, among other Russian products, bore the brunt of American sanctions on Russia in 2022.

Beers are not on any known list of banned American drinks (excluding "dry" U.S. cities where all alcohol consumption is banned). But there is one beer you won't find sold in several states: Samuel Adams Utopia.

The Strongest Craft Beer

The United States' first real craft beer growth spurt occurred between 1985 to 1995 (per Seeking Alpha), resulting in today's industry of 9000 different craft beers, per The Guardian. And according to the Boston Beer Company, sixty of those brews are from Samuel Adams, with Utopia being the avant-garde of their creations.

Sam Adams' Utopia beer is far from average. You can tell by its fancy-looking, 25.4-ounce bottle and its recommended $240 price tag, per ABC 7 News. For what are you paying? A blend of Samuel Adams's existing brews that age nearly three decades in old bourbon kegs. The brewing company asserts that this beer is "like no other beer on the planet" and meant to be sipped (via Samuel Adams). But only in some states. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Oregon, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia have all banned the brew. Why? Because at an ABV of 28%, the beer is just too strong (ABC 7 News). In fact, according to a list by the Food Republic, Utopia is one of America's most potent beers worth drinking — that is if you can get your hands on one of the limited bottles.