Here’s Why Samuel Adams’ New ‘Utopias’ Beer Is Illegal in 15 States

The historic reason why this high-ABV brew is illegal in many states may surprise you.

The Boston Beer Co.

A new Samuel Adams beer set for release soon won’t be legally available in 15 states. It’s not infused with anything like the active ingredient in cannabis, THC. Nope, thanks in part to laws dating back to the Prohibition Era (1920-1933), it’s just too damn strong.

Samuel Adams has been releasing expressions of Utopias for 20 years. According to a company press release the 2021 batch “was finished on 2,000 pounds of cherries, including Michigan Balaton cherries, to bring a slight sweetness and touch of tart flavor to this 28% ABV rarity.”

That particular high ABV for a beer is a “rarity,” reports Yahoo! Life, thanks to Prohibition Era laws in states like “Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia” that require beer’s alcohol content be capped at 5% ABV. 

It’s for a good cause though. Appropriately for a beer strong enough to knock you into orbit, Samuel Adams Utopias is, according to the Adams press release, “the official beer of Inspiration4,” Elon Musk‘s SpaceX endeavor that represented the “first all-civilian spaceflight mission to orbit” the planet.

Inspiration4 taking off from SpaceX facilities in Texas

Samuel Adams will celebrate the mission, which ended without a hitch Sunday, by donating “a maximum $100,000 to support [Inspiration4 commander, billionaire] Jared Isaacman’s challenge to raise $200 million for St. Jude.”

Adams brewer and founder Jim Koch called Utopias “beer at its most spirited” in the press release and said it is “a high gravity beer” that he was “honored to take… to new heights with our friends on the Inspiration4 mission.”

So, unless you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, or West Virginia, look for 2021 Samuel Adams Utopias at beer, wine, and liquor stores beginning October 11. 

The cost for a bottle of Utopias is probably appropriate for such a limited-edition brew—the suggested retail price is $240.

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Steve Huff