Vermont House to do list: Talk a lot about alcohol

Today’s vote schedule for the House is a reporter’s dream: Action on two bills the expand the alcohol drinking opportunities for Vermonters.

In a near unanimous vote, the House gave final approval to a bill allowing beers with up to 16 percent alcohol volume to be sold at traditional retail stores. The bill was heavily debated Tuesday and passed easily today, with one amendment that requires the state to create a labeling program so that beer drinkers can tell the difference between the pricey, high-alcohol malt beverages and Budweiser.

Rep. Anne Donahue, R-Northfield, had some fun when she proposed her amendment. She joked that last night she went to a "research facility" to "evaluate one of the products" that the House had debated.

She added that she was concerned that the bottles she "evaluated" did not have a label noting the higher alcohol level. The rest of the House agreed and quickly approved her amendment.

Minutes later, the House also approved a bill allowing wine makers to sell and taste their products at Vermont Farmer’s Markets. But they did not tackle one of the important questions of the day: What wine goes well with seedlings, organic kale and homemade spring rolls?

-Dan Barlow