While Craft Brewing Business is squarely focused on craft brewing professionals, the impact of homebrewing on the craft brewing boom is undeniable. Most craft brewers start out as humble adventurous homebrewers with a dream. That’s why we’re glad to hear that the Illinois and Missouri legislatures have passed bills that will allow their states’ homebrewers to transport their brews to share with friends and homebrew club members, to enter homebrew competitions and for sampling at beer festivals.
The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) announced that House Bill 630 passed through the Illinois House and Senate without receiving a single vote against it and is expected to be signed by Governor Pat Quinn. The Missouri legislature passed Senate Bill 121, which included an amendment to the state’s homebrew law, expanding homebrewer rights in the state.
“Homebrewing is a hobby that brings people together through sharing. We’re excited that the homebrewers of Illinois and Missouri will soon be able to legally share their brews similarly to other homebrewers across the country,” said Gary Glass, director, AHA. “We’re grateful for all the support involved in making these legislative changes a reality. In Illinois, we have the Illinois Homebrewers Alliance to thank, along with Reps. Keith Farnham and Michael Tryon for co-sponsoring this bill. In Missouri, Dan Kopman of St. Louis Brewery, makers of Schlafly Beer, worked with Senator Kurt Schaefer to expand homebrewing rights.”
Once signed by the respective state governors, these bills will permit homebrewers to share their creations with friends, family and neighbors beyond the confines of their homes, enter their brews into competitions, serve their beers at festivals and get feedback on their beer at homebrew club meetings. These activities were common until they were recently deemed illegal in both states. The Illinois bill will also allow homebrew supply shops to conduct brewing demonstrations and offer samples to customers.
Illinois and Missouri are home to an estimated 48,000 and 13,000 homebrewers, respectively, who will soon enjoy brewing without the tight restrictions of the previous state alcohol laws.
In early May, Alabama passed legislation to permit homebrewing, making it the 50th and final state to do so. Now, for the first time since pre-Prohibition days, homebrewing will be legal in every state in America. The hobby of homebrewing has seen exponential growth in recent years, and the AHA estimates that more than one million Americans brew beer or make wine at home at least once a year.