MONTGOMERY, Alabama - With the start of the 2013 Legislative Session just a few days away, thousands of Alabama homebrewers, craft beer enthusiasts, and personal rights supporters are mobilizing in a grassroots effort to add their state to the list of 48 others in which homebrewing has been legalized.
Homebrewing, the making of small quantities of beer, wine, cider, and mead at home for personal, non-commercial use, is a popular hobby across the United States. The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) , www.homebrewersassociation.org, estimates 1 million homebrewers actively participate in the hobby, with the number continually increasing. Homebrewing was federally legalized in 1978. Since then, all states except Alabama and Mississippi have changed their alcohol laws to allow homebrewing. In Alabama violation is a felony offense, yet the AHA estimates that many thousands of people homebrew in the state, most not even realizing that it is illegal here.
Representative Mac McCutcheon prefiled House Bill HB9 to legalize making small quantities of fermented beverages at home. The bill is identical to one that passed the House chamber last year, but ran out of time before getting a vote in the Senate.
“We have many, many people in this state that like to homebrew,” said McCutcheon. “There’s a lot of interest in this, and this is a hobby for a lot of people…This is a good bill for property rights and individual rights.” - WHNT Huntsville.
HB9 will allow individuals to produce 15 gallons of homebrew per quarter, which is approximately the equivalent of 2 cases of beer per month. It limits homebrew to non-commercial use, and expressly prohibits making stronger, distilled liquors at home, as well as homebrewing in dry cities and counties.
“I will file the Senate version of the bill this year - already drafted and ready to file,” Senator Bill Holtzclaw announced last week. He intends to file an identical copy of HB9 shortly after the session begins, which will help ensure the bill has plenty of time to pass this year.
Right To Brew, www.alahomebrewing.org, is a grassroots effort that has been working for 5 years to repeal the prohibition of homebrewing in Alabama. Its public support continues to grow through email, Twitter, and Facebook outreach.