With over 37,000 members since its establishment in 1978, the American Homebrewers Association estimates that “more than one million Americans brew beer or make wine at home at least once a year.” Now, they can all do it legally no matter what state they reside in. As of July 1, 2013, Mississippi lifted its homebrew restrictions, making homebrewing beer legal across the United States for the first time since Prohibition made it illegal in 1919. The hoppy hobby was federally legalized in 1978, but regulation of alcohol is left to individual states. Mississippi and Alabama were the last two states with laws against homebrewing and both passed legislation in May to permit beer brewing at home. (Alabama’s law, however, went into effect on May 9, immediately after the Governor signed the bill.)
“Homebrewers are deeply dedicated to their craft and the AHA is thrilled that homebrewers in all 50 states can now legally take part in that passion,” Gary Glass, director of the American Homebrewers Association, said in a press release.
Though all intrepid beer lovers can now feel free to invent their ideal IPA or shape the perfect stout, statutes in some states will still demand that suds made at home stay at home. According to the AHA, such restrictions interfere with the spirit of homebrewing and will “keep homebrewers from removing homebrewed beer from their houses, effectively restricting interactions with the rest of their local homebrew community, including club meetings, festivals and competitions.”
“Sharing and community interaction are key ingredient of homebrewing,” Glass said. “We will continue to work to protect and advance the rights of homebrewers to share their unique creations.”
The AHA organizes events including the National Homebrewers Conference and National Homebrew Competition. Earlier this year, the group encouraged homebrewing bills that were passed in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri to permit homebrewers to transport their creations from the home for use at club meetings, competitions and more.
Before they were lifted, did the existing laws prevent you from making beer at home? Does restricting homebrewers from sharing their wares beyond their own front door diminish their contribution to the community as artisans and craftspeople? — Casandra Armour