Legislature Considers Ban On Everclear, High-Proof Alcohols
By Maureen McCollum
Wednesday, January 1, 2014, 5:37am
Everclear and other high-proof alcohol could be banned in Wisconsin if an upcoming bill passes in the state legislature.
Everclear is perhaps the most popular grain alcohol, often found on college campuses and during the holidays in "Apple Pie" drinks.
But some state lawmakers want to prohibit the sale and possession of Everclear and other 190-proof alcohols.
State Rep. Andre Jacques says he'll be seeking cosponsors for the bipartisan bill in January. He says he hopes banning the product will cut back on abuse and alcohol-related deaths.
“When you're talking 95 percent alcohol, it really is a poison that needs to be regulated more than anything else,” Jacques says. “Talking about responsible drinking behavior: Everclear doesn't have a role to play in that.”
While Everclear and similar drinks can be abused, it is used often used by bartenders to make bitters and extractions for cocktails.
At Cavalier Lounge in downtown La Crosse, owner Jason LaCourse pulls a couple homemade syrups out of a fridge. He says Everclear helps bring out unique flavors from fruits and herbs. LaCourse says most bartenders use the grain alcohol extracts responsibly, so he doesn't see a place for an all-out ban in the state.
“Bars who serve it as shots, or what have you, I think that's a dangerous blend,” he says, “but for doing the kind of craft cocktails that we do, it's definitely a tool that I use and I use wisely.”
A similar bill to ban high proof alcohol was introduced in 2011. In Jacques's bill, selling the alcohol could carry a fine of up to $10,000, up to 9 months in jail, or both.