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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: micsager on June 12, 2012, 03:55:54 PM

Title: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: micsager on June 12, 2012, 03:55:54 PM


Hundreds of gallons of beer that were set to be poured this weekend at the sixth annual St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival will have to find a new home after the city's excise commissioner ruled Monday that serving it at the festival would be illegal.



Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/st-louis-no-homebrew-allowed-at-heritage-festival/article_f1f1a866-b439-11e1-ab83-0019bb30f31a.html#ixzz1xaxEYAeM
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: dbeechum on June 12, 2012, 04:08:50 PM
It's a real bind.. on the one hand you seriously want to shake people, but on the other hand there is the point of contention there between a paid festival where you control the drinking of commercial beer (effectively selling it for the cost of tickets/tokens) and that translating to homebrew.

If you don't do tickets for the homebrew, then how do you keep the drinking situation there in check?

It would be nice for this to have an easy solution.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: Joe Sr. on June 12, 2012, 04:28:40 PM
I think it's cool to see Schlafly advocating for homebrewer's and acknowledging that it's an important part of the festival.

If you don't do tickets for the homebrew, then how do you keep the drinking situation there in check?

Not sure what you mean, Drew.  Are you saying that without tickets, it could be a super drunk-fest on free homebrew?  How would it be different with tickets?

I worked a four hour shift on Sunday at a beer tent for a local neighborhood festival.  At $5 and $6 a cup, I was literally pouring continually for at least three hours (mostly Bud Light, ewww).  I don't know it would be any different with higher or lower beer prices.  People want their beer at festivals.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: dbeechum on June 12, 2012, 04:58:26 PM
Not sure what you mean, Drew.  Are you saying that without tickets, it could be a super drunk-fest on free homebrew?  How would it be different with tickets?

Part of the rationale of tickets and ticket sales is to control the drinking pace and volume. Of course, tickets = money = sales in the eyes of the law, so that's a no-no for homebrew. Can't even bundle them with the sale of the mug because that's still an exchange of money.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: kramerog on June 12, 2012, 04:59:48 PM
I'd like to see a new class of liquor license for festivals permitting the festivals to serve homebrew if they pay for taxes on the homebrew.  Illinois has new law on the books permitting people to sell food made at home (e.g., not in a commercial kitchen).  It's time to further deregulate homebrew.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: Joe Sr. on June 12, 2012, 05:03:54 PM
Part of the rationale of tickets and ticket sales is to control the drinking pace and volume.

I guess I've never quite viewed tickets that way. 

I've been to fests where you can only buy two beers at a time, but you can buy as many tickets as you like.

I've always assumed that tickets are preferred because you generally buy more tickets than you use and cash transactions are limited to a secured booth.  Less opportunity for shenanigans with the $$ that way.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: EHall on June 12, 2012, 05:12:38 PM
I'd like to see a new class of liquor license for festivals permitting the festivals to serve homebrew if they pay for taxes on the homebrew. 

Why would you want to go down the path of taxing homebrew?!!!  :o Its bad enough that taxes on alcohol are already to high and they keep going up an now you would be ok with taxing homebrew just so someone can serve it at a festival? No thanks!
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: dak0415 on June 12, 2012, 05:35:11 PM
Controlling over-indulgence is quite simple.  The person serving the beer (homebrew or commercial) operates under the same rules as a bartender in the state.  He/She shouldn't be serving AND drinking and you can't serve someone who is intoxicated, tickets or not!

As far as serving homebrew, we are not usually dolling it out by the pint, but it 2-3oz tasters.  You would kick a keg pretty fast if you were serving pints.  I have refused to serve even tasters to festival goers who seem to have been on their 40th sample!
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: Alewyfe on June 12, 2012, 05:49:36 PM
We have a brew festival here in our town that is put on by a PAC to raise funds for their operations.
As with the rest of the festivals, all the beer is donated by the breweries. No one is admitted unless they are over 21.  Then they buy a glass, they buy tickets.  You can get in to the festival if you are over 21. You are NOT required to buy the glass or the tickets to get in the door, but then of course you can't sample the commercial beers.

Last year, our club had a booth and poured home brew. It was free...they did not have to purchase glass...our beer was served in 3oz. plastic cups.  The premise was because they got in to the event free (only drinking the commercial beers required a purchased glass & tickets) so therefore it was fine to pour the home brew. No one who came to our booth, came only to have home brew. They had their glasses and their tickets. Most only hung around if they were very interested in getting into brewing or were already home brewers. It was a great awareness opportunity for our club and home brewing.

We are still allowed to pour home brew at our town's Art & Wine walks, from which no one makes money. It's just for exposure of the downtown merchants.

However, this year they have said no to the festival pouring.  We may "donate" our homebrew to the PAC, then they can pour it to the paying attendees from their booths, not ours. 

I'm not sure who figured that one out. I'm told it was the decision of our local liquor control, but I suspect that the festival organizers were mostly concerned about our pouring beer for which they were not getting income. (my opinion, I haven't talked to LCC )  I think this is screwed up. Why in this instance is it OK for home brew to be "sold".  They say because it's being donated, and the PAC is a tax exempt organization.
(So? Most home brew clubs are tax exempt organizations. Could we donate it to our club and sell it? Of course we have no political affiliations, so I'm sure that wouldn't work)
I am bothered by this and don't understand how it passes the sniff test.



Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: dbeechum on June 12, 2012, 06:06:39 PM
Yeah, the way you mentioned that you've been doing it is the only way I can really think it will work, but... (always a but...) I've encountered a lot of folks on the government/insurance/safety side who have small kittens around that sort of endless pour situation / public area of drinking.

Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: Jimmy K on June 12, 2012, 06:16:26 PM
They say because it's being donated, and the PAC is a tax exempt organization.
I don't think being tax exempt exempts them from alcohol taxes anyway, just income taxes. I'd agree their new position is pretty dubious since they are now selling unlicensed beer. It is hard to believe that idea came from the liquor board.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: kramerog on June 12, 2012, 06:18:55 PM
We have a brew festival here in our town that is put on by a PAC to raise funds for their operations.
As with the rest of the festivals, all the beer is donated by the breweries. No one is admitted unless they are over 21.  Then they buy a glass, they buy tickets.  You can get in to the festival if you are over 21. You are NOT required to buy the glass or the tickets to get in the door, but then of course you can't sample the commercial beers.

Last year, our club had a booth and poured home brew. It was free...they did not have to purchase glass...our beer was served in 3oz. plastic cups.  The premise was because they got in to the event free (only drinking the commercial beers required a purchased glass & tickets) so therefore it was fine to pour the home brew. No one who came to our booth, came only to have home brew. They had their glasses and their tickets. Most only hung around if they were very interested in getting into brewing or were already home brewers. It was a great awareness opportunity for our club and home brewing.

We are still allowed to pour home brew at our town's Art & Wine walks, from which no one makes money. It's just for exposure of the downtown merchants.

However, this year they have said no to the festival pouring.  We may "donate" our homebrew to the PAC, then they can pour it to the paying attendees from their booths, not ours. 

I'm not sure who figured that one out. I'm told it was the decision of our local liquor control, but I suspect that the festival organizers were mostly concerned about our pouring beer for which they were not getting income. (my opinion, I haven't talked to LCC )  I think this is screwed up. Why in this instance is it OK for home brew to be "sold".  They say because it's being donated, and the PAC is a tax exempt organization.
(So? Most home brew clubs are tax exempt organizations. Could we donate it to our club and sell it? Of course we have no political affiliations, so I'm sure that wouldn't work)
I am bothered by this and don't understand how it passes the sniff test.

If the homebrew is not exchanged for tickets then the homebrew is being given away not sold.  If the PAC requires tickets for homebrew then the deal is fishy.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: kramerog on June 12, 2012, 06:21:42 PM
I'd like to see a new class of liquor license for festivals permitting the festivals to serve homebrew if they pay for taxes on the homebrew. 

Why would you want to go down the path of taxing homebrew?!!!  :o Its bad enough that taxes on alcohol are already to high and they keep going up an now you would be ok with taxing homebrew just so someone can serve it at a festival? No thanks!

I'm only talking about taxing the homebrew served at festivals via the festival organizers.  If you ever work with charities trying to raise money through donations for homebrew then I think you would begin to see my point.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: denny on June 12, 2012, 06:31:13 PM
We have a brew festival here in our town that is put on by a PAC to raise funds for their operations.
As with the rest of the festivals, all the beer is donated by the breweries. No one is admitted unless they are over 21.  Then they buy a glass, they buy tickets.  You can get in to the festival if you are over 21. You are NOT required to buy the glass or the tickets to get in the door, but then of course you can't sample the commercial beers.

Last year, our club had a booth and poured home brew. It was free...they did not have to purchase glass...our beer was served in 3oz. plastic cups.  The premise was because they got in to the event free (only drinking the commercial beers required a purchased glass & tickets) so therefore it was fine to pour the home brew. No one who came to our booth, came only to have home brew. They had their glasses and their tickets. Most only hung around if they were very interested in getting into brewing or were already home brewers. It was a great awareness opportunity for our club and home brewing.

We are still allowed to pour home brew at our town's Art & Wine walks, from which no one makes money. It's just for exposure of the downtown merchants.

However, this year they have said no to the festival pouring.  We may "donate" our homebrew to the PAC, then they can pour it to the paying attendees from their booths, not ours. 

I'm not sure who figured that one out. I'm told it was the decision of our local liquor control, but I suspect that the festival organizers were mostly concerned about our pouring beer for which they were not getting income. (my opinion, I haven't talked to LCC )  I think this is screwed up. Why in this instance is it OK for home brew to be "sold".  They say because it's being donated, and the PAC is a tax exempt organization.
(So? Most home brew clubs are tax exempt organizations. Could we donate it to our club and sell it? Of course we have no political affiliations, so I'm sure that wouldn't work)
I am bothered by this and don't understand how it passes the sniff test.

I think that the modifications we made to the law a couple years ago should allow you to pour.  Lemme look into it and get back to you.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: anthony on June 12, 2012, 06:57:37 PM
I think that the modifications we made to the law a couple years ago should allow you to pour.  Lemme look into it and get back to you.

As came up in another thread in the GoingPro section, this could very well be related to liability reasons (i.e. their event insurance only covers their employees serving, etc.)
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: phunhog on June 12, 2012, 07:41:48 PM
I have poured, along with other HBC members, at a commercial beer festival in our town in CA.  I checked with the organizer who checked with the ABC. I was told that it was allowed....at least in CA. Now I don't know all the specifics but it seems like it met the letter of the law
1. The homebrewers received no form of compensation, it was all done by wristband so there were not even drink tickets to collect.
2.  All proceeds collected went to a 501c non-profit
3.  All pours were in a 3 oz. sample glass
4.  Now this is the big one IMO....it also involved two beer competitions.  One was a straight out Best Beer contest and the other was a People's Choice contest. It looks like according to CA state law that homebrew may be served in a festival type setting along as it is part of a competition, tasting, or judging. http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/statutes/california
It does not stipulate who can be a judge or how many judges the competition can have.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: tomsawyer on June 12, 2012, 09:23:05 PM
As I understand it, the homebrew tent is only serving tastings not full glasses.  Anyway thats how the St Louis Brews were doing it at the last OFest.  The commercial booths were serving the liter steins.

Darned nice of them to figure this out less than a week away from the event.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: dbeechum on June 13, 2012, 01:44:47 AM
I was told that it was allowed....at least in CA.

It seems like your ABC folks up in NorCal are much friendlier than ours here in LA where they've repeatedly told us not a chance in hell even though it's a wristband event with no tickets.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: phunhog on June 13, 2012, 02:26:48 AM
I was told that it was allowed....at least in CA.

It seems like your ABC folks up in NorCal are much friendlier than ours here in LA where they've repeatedly told us not a chance in hell even though it's a wristband event with no tickets.

Wow! That a bummer. I am actually just up the 101 from you in Ventura. I also know that the Santa Barbara area clubs pour at the Santa Barbara Beer Festival.  You would "think" that since it is a state law that it would be applied equally in all parts of the state.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: udubdawg on June 13, 2012, 03:24:25 AM
I dunno...I've gone to a few great events where homebrew was also served, and invariably it is much of what I was there for.  It's the biggest reason I bought a ticket.  Tough to say it wasn't being sold under those circumstances.

Of course, Kansas is one of those "only in the home" states, so I guess competitions and even club meetings are illegal if the law is followed to the letter.   ::)

cheers--
--Michael
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: dbeechum on June 13, 2012, 04:29:06 AM
You would "think" that since it is a state law that it would be applied equally in all parts of the state.

As with all things alcohol and the law, where the line is blurry, you're at the mercy of the person holding the wheel.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: stlaleman on June 13, 2012, 09:51:27 AM
A clarification....at the Heritage Fest, you pay at the gate something like $30. This gets you a tasting glass and as many samples as you want. It started out as a festival where every beer style was served, an educational event. It has transformed in the breweries bringing in whatever style they want and has become a drunk fest.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: tomsawyer on June 13, 2012, 04:39:45 PM
You make it sound so inviting!

I suppose with all the microbreweries in StL these days, the festival might do OK without homebrew.  Sucks to lose a venue to show off our collective talents though.  I suppose the clubs could still operate an informational booth or something that would at least give the general public some education about homebrew and some free advertizing for the clubs.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: phunhog on June 13, 2012, 05:58:55 PM
I was told that it was allowed....at least in CA.

It seems like your ABC folks up in NorCal are much friendlier than ours here in LA where they've repeatedly told us not a chance in hell even though it's a wristband event with no tickets.

I think we are also operating under the whole "it's better to beg forgiveness, than to ask permission".  It's always easier for the government to say "NO" than yes or maybe....
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: madscientist on June 14, 2012, 05:02:57 PM
I've been fortunate enough to pour some homebrew at two festivals in PA.  Both were a huge success, and the organizers are more than happy to have us there.  I don't know what goes into it legally, but when everyone comes to the tent they are required to sign a waiver. 
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: harbicide on June 14, 2012, 06:42:14 PM
My club, the Three Rivers Underground Brewers, puts on a benefit every year for Cystic Fibrosis (www.brewingupacure.org).  We feature our homebrew with some commercial beers added.  We are fortunate one member is a lawyer who fully investigated the legality in Pennsylvania.
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: micsager on June 14, 2012, 07:41:40 PM
I've served my homebrew (for free) at two local Relay for Life fundraisers, and another one for local scholarships.  They are closed events.  I have no clue as to the legality, but we've never had a problem, and the folks rent a building at the local county fairgrounds.......
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: tschmidlin on June 15, 2012, 09:09:17 AM
I've served my homebrew (for free) at two local Relay for Life fundraisers, and another one for local scholarships.  They are closed events.  I have no clue as to the legality, but we've never had a problem, and the folks rent a building at the local county fairgrounds.......
You're welcome :)  The fact that they are closed events and you are not selling the beer are the two main reasons it is legal.
Title: Re: St. Louis: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: mattcrecelius@gmail.com on June 15, 2012, 09:39:19 PM
They have been serving homebrew at this festival for years. I think the greedy city just caught on and realized there is no way to tax the homebrew.
The homebrew clubs are starting to work with the AHA to get this fixed.
One of the new craft breweries, 4 Hands Brewing, is going to have a free homebrew only festival in July during St. Louis Craft Beer Week.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
Title: Re: St. Loius: Home brew illegal at festival
Post by: ynotbrusum on June 18, 2012, 12:44:10 AM
Make it simple.  Any homebrewers ( those who produce less than 200 gallons per year) should be free to allow their beer to be dispensed at any event in whatever manner they choose, as long as the consumers are of legal age for the jurisdiction.  The rest is plain BS.