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General Category => Homebrew Clubs => Topic started by: tommymorris on December 22, 2013, 05:34:53 pm

Title: Fundraiser Question
Post by: tommymorris on December 22, 2013, 05:34:53 pm
My state, Mississippi, allows homebrewers to "remove the beer from the premises of the household where it is made and transport the beer only for the purpose of participating in a bona fide exhibition, contest or competition where homemade beer is being tasted and judged; however, homemade beer may not be sold or offered for sale under any circumstances."

So, would it be legal for a home brew club to hold a bonafide exhibition with an entry fee and then give people who pay to entry free beer?

Or could the club partner with a festival and provide beer to festival goers in return for payment to the club from the festival?

Or could the club set up at a farmers market, sell empty growlers and glasses and then fill them for free?
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: Bruce B on December 22, 2013, 10:12:13 pm
People had similar ideas in WI after our homebrew legislation changed a year ago.  A lot of people thought they could get creative once the laws were changed.  Not sure if the questions posted are an effort to be creative and indirectly get compensated for homeebrew or if they are first time legal want to know questions.  Regardless, I'm not familiar with Mississippi law or the ins and outs of the new legislation so I would suggest you consult directly with a lawyer or a legislator regarding your questions.

Some things to consider:
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: klickitat jim on December 23, 2013, 09:25:39 am
What is the intent of the law?  Like a 50 miles per hour speed limit, the intent is to not go faster than that rate of speed. It doesn't mean that you can drive at any rate of speed you want so long as you don't drive more than 50 total miles in one hour.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: morticaixavier on December 23, 2013, 09:32:30 am
In California they just passed a law allowing homebrewers top donate homebrew to charities who would then be allowed to sell the homebrew in a variety of ways (auction, door prize, festival) to raise funds. The law is written so that the charity cannot be specifically beer/wine/spirits related so no raising funds for the club even though it is a non-profit but it's still pretty great.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 23, 2013, 09:38:40 am
I always wonder how these laws fit in with the Federal law that says homebrew is not to be sold?
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: morticaixavier on December 23, 2013, 09:40:16 am
That will be an interesting this to see. As I understand it, as long as it's not interstate it's not really the feds deal but that has not stopped them in the past.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: klickitat jim on December 23, 2013, 09:55:02 am
Especially if it's drugs, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, or explosive
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: denny on December 23, 2013, 10:07:44 am
My state, Mississippi, allows homebrewers to "remove the beer from the premises of the household where it is made and transport the beer only for the purpose of participating in a bona fide exhibition, contest or competition where homemade beer is being tasted and judged; however, homemade beer may not be sold or offered for sale under any circumstances."

So, would it be legal for a home brew club to hold a bonafide exhibition with an entry fee and then give people who pay to entry free beer?

Or could the club partner with a festival and provide beer to festival goers in return for payment to the club from the festival?

Or could the club set up at a farmers market, sell empty growlers and glasses and then fill them for free?

If you want an accurate answer, ask your local alcohol control authorities, not a bunch of homebrewers who may not even live in your state!  When I taught a homebrew course recently, I had questions about if I could give the finished beer to the people in the class.  I contacted the OR Liquor Control Commission and they were very helpful.  After examining the laws they told me it was fine.  Ask the people who know!
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: pmhennessey on December 23, 2013, 12:42:24 pm
I think the short answer is no.  In each of the three situations money is changing hands.  If the beer is removed from the equation would money change hands?  In the title you are calling this a fund raiser which implies the only reason for the beer is to make money on the sale of beer.

In the first situation would I be able to get “free beer” without paying the entry fee?  I the answer is no then the beer is not free and there is a sale.  In the second situation would the festival organizers still pay you if you just stood around and talked about beer and did not provide the beer promised?  If not then the transaction is a sale of beer to the festival organizers.  In the last situation, if I brought my own growler would it be filled with “free beer” at no cost to me?  Again if the answer is no then the beer is not free and there is a sale.

In each situation, whether to an individual or the club, I am expected to give up my money to get your beer.  I believe this would define a sale of beer.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: tommymorris on December 23, 2013, 01:52:58 pm

My state, Mississippi, allows homebrewers to "remove the beer from the premises of the household where it is made and transport the beer only for the purpose of participating in a bona fide exhibition, contest or competition where homemade beer is being tasted and judged; however, homemade beer may not be sold or offered for sale under any circumstances."

So, would it be legal for a home brew club to hold a bonafide exhibition with an entry fee and then give people who pay to entry free beer?

Or could the club partner with a festival and provide beer to festival goers in return for payment to the club from the festival?

Or could the club set up at a farmers market, sell empty growlers and glasses and then fill them for free?

If you want an accurate answer, ask your local alcohol control authorities, not a bunch of homebrewers who may not even live in your state!  When I taught a homebrew course recently, I had questions about if I could give the finished beer to the people in the class.  I contacted the OR Liquor Control Commission and they were very helpful.  After examining the laws they told me it was fine.  Ask the people who know!

Just getting opinions. Believe me I won't be doing this without consulting authorities in my state. However, I thought it might be useful to hear what people think and perhaps what can or can't done elsewhere before moving forward.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: tommymorris on December 23, 2013, 02:26:16 pm

People had similar ideas in WI after our homebrew legislation changed a year ago.  A lot of people thought they could get creative once the laws were changed.  Not sure if the questions posted are an effort to be creative and indirectly get compensated for homeebrew or if they are first time legal want to know questions.  Regardless, I'm not familiar with Mississippi law or the ins and outs of the new legislation so I would suggest you consult directly with a lawyer or a legislator regarding your questions.

Some things to consider:
  • Remember that professional brewers pay taxes for the product that they produce and sell.  For a homebrewer to produce a product, get compensated for it, and not have to pay taxes it could create some animosity between the homebrew and professional brewing communities. 
  • If your club is pouring homebrew samples at a beer festival where professional product is being served your club members can take turns pouring beer for the fest goers and going to see what the pro brewers brought.

This is not an attempt to profit from beer. I am just curious. We have had festivals in MS where both home brew and commercial beer are given away to festival goers who paid an admission fee. So I am wondering if it would be legal for a club to have its own fundraiser involving home brew.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: denny on December 23, 2013, 02:33:10 pm
Just getting opinions. Believe me I won't be doing this without consulting authorities in my state. However, I thought it might be useful to hear what people think and perhaps what can or can't done elsewhere before moving forward.

No offense intended, man, but why would it matter what the opinions of people here are?  Just give 'em a call then let us know what they say.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: tommymorris on December 23, 2013, 02:55:58 pm

Just getting opinions. Believe me I won't be doing this without consulting authorities in my state. However, I thought it might be useful to hear what people think and perhaps what can or can't done elsewhere before moving forward.

No offense intended, man, but why would it matter what the opinions of people here are?  Just give 'em a call then let us know what they say.

It is easier to anonymously find out if I am being foolish by asking on a forum. If people don't think I am an idiot then I can go on record and ask.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: Bruce B on December 25, 2013, 12:17:55 am
This is not an attempt to profit from beer. I am just curious. We have had festivals in MS where both home brew and commercial beer are given away to festival goers who paid an admission fee. So I am wondering if it would be legal for a club to have its own fundraiser involving home brew.

Just to be clear I didn't intend to suggest that you were looking to profit.  Seeking compensation, even in the name of a fund raiser can present issues.  Our club serves brew samples for beer festivals in WI but we always do it for festivals that include professionally made and purchased beer.  We even hold our own beer festival - http://www.wobfest.com/ which the proceeds benefit a professional brewers scholarship fund that we've set up, but the amount of purchased brew far outweighs homebrew.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: tommymorris on December 25, 2013, 07:35:41 am
Thanks, Bruce. I just wanted to make it clear I wasn't looking for a half baked scheme to profit. Not saying you accused me of that.

After Christmas I will email or call my state authorities.

Merry Christmas.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: albionwood on January 01, 2014, 08:35:55 pm
The new California law is pretty straightforward and might be a model for other States to adopt.  It basically says, you can donate homebrew to a nonprofit and they can sell it at fundraisers (as long as they have a serving license), full stop.  It specifically says you CANNOT sell it as a benefit for your homebrew club (i.e. you can't get around the permitting laws just by calling your brewery a club!).

This is one of the primary reasons why I'm interested in starting a homebrewing club here.  Many local nonprofits would be happy to serve homebrew at their functions.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: thatgeekguy on January 13, 2014, 11:46:56 am
If you're primarily interested in rasing funds for your club, there's other options. We recently partnered with a local brewery who supports our efforts to do a brewing demo and raffle during their Saturday tour and tasting. Folks had already paid them for entry and were tasting their beers, so we had no conflicts as we weren't serving any homebrew.

We did two all grain demos simultaneously during the three hour period they were open for the tour/tasting, with great interest from folks. We ended up signing up about five new members, which was an added bonus. We had applications and business cards on the raffle table, and will probably get additional members as a result of that as well.

As far as the raffle, we solicited local pubs for gift cards, t-shirts, empty growlers and other swag. The club donated a set of five pint glasses from local breweries, and a commercial seasonal ale assortment. Our local  homebrew shop donated an extract kit, and a starter equipment kit as two items as well. The brewery donated a gift basket full of swag and beer, and the grand prize of a private party for twenty-five at the brewery. As I said, they actively support us as they started as homebrewers and are still dues-paying members of the club.

Tickets were $5 for 1, $8 for 2, 12$ for 3, etc. Lots of folks would buy two and let us keep the change from a ten dollar bill. When all was said and done we had raised $1000 for the club in one afternoon and exposed a lot of craft beer drinkers to our club and the joys of homebrewing. We'll probably start doing this twice a year.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: tommymorris on January 13, 2014, 01:16:02 pm
Actually, we recently got invited to do a joint tasting with a brewery as a fund raiser. That should help us a lot.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: thatgeekguy on January 14, 2014, 11:53:55 am
Excellent, please report back with details on how it's structured and how it went.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: cornershot on January 14, 2014, 12:04:39 pm
Actually, we recently got invited to do a joint tasting with a brewery as a fund raiser. That should help us a lot.
Seems like Colorado has all the fun these days.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: Bruce B on January 14, 2014, 12:21:00 pm
Actually, we recently got invited to do a joint tasting with a brewery as a fund raiser. That should help us a lot.
That's awesome!  The homebrew will add some character to the event and the brewery won't have to supply all of the beer.  Win-win!  Just be prepared in case your beer is better than the breweries.  That happened at a fest I was pouring at a couple of years ago.  We had a Watermelon Wheat that people were lined up to get.  The brewery next to us also had a Watermelon Wheat but had very few takers.   ::)
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: denny on January 14, 2014, 02:39:12 pm
Actually, we recently got invited to do a joint tasting with a brewery as a fund raiser. That should help us a lot.
Seems like Colorado has all the fun these days.

Yeah, they get to do a joint tasting...what?
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: morticaixavier on January 14, 2014, 02:42:15 pm
Actually, we recently got invited to do a joint tasting with a brewery as a fund raiser. That should help us a lot.
Seems like Colorado has all the fun these days.

Yeah, they get to do a joint tasting...what?

he he
Title: Fundraiser Question
Post by: tommymorris on January 14, 2014, 05:48:21 pm
Actually, we recently got invited to do a joint tasting with a brewery as a fund raiser. That should help us a lot.
Seems like Colorado has all the fun these days.

Colorado is awesome but my post is about Mississippi. You know, the most progressive state in the south.

Actually I had nothing to do with setting this up. Other folks from the club have done this. But as I know more I will report back.

PS. If I never post again it's because I was shot for using the words progressive and Mississippi in the same sentence.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: phunhog on April 10, 2014, 12:41:36 pm
The new California law is pretty straightforward and might be a model for other States to adopt.  It basically says, you can donate homebrew to a nonprofit and they can sell it at fundraisers (as long as they have a serving license), full stop.  It specifically says you CANNOT sell it as a benefit for your homebrew club (i.e. you can't get around the permitting laws just by calling your brewery a club!).

This is one of the primary reasons why I'm interested in starting a homebrewing club here.  Many local nonprofits would be happy to serve homebrew at their functions.

As an update there is currently legislation to change the law so that the non profit CAN be a brewing related charity.  This is being done so that AHA can have the NHC in CA.  But I do wonder if then a legally recognized non-profit homebrewing club (501c3) COULD have events where they sell their beer and all profits go back to the club.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: Jimmy K on April 23, 2014, 11:09:26 am
As an update there is currently legislation to change the law so that the non profit CAN be a brewing related charity.  This is being done so that AHA can have the NHC in CA.  But I do wonder if then a legally recognized non-profit homebrewing club (501c3) COULD have events where they sell their beer and all profits go back to the club.
Maybe, but I'm in a non-brewing related (plenty of drinking though) that is a 501(c)3 and the IRS is VERY particular about what we do with the money we raise.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: phunhog on May 05, 2014, 06:14:33 pm
As an update there is currently legislation to change the law so that the non profit CAN be a brewing related charity.  This is being done so that AHA can have the NHC in CA.  But I do wonder if then a legally recognized non-profit homebrewing club (501c3) COULD have events where they sell their beer and all profits go back to the club.
Maybe, but I'm in a non-brewing related (plenty of drinking though) that is a 501(c)3 and the IRS is VERY particular about what we do with the money we raise.
I bet they are!  If this new law passes in CA I am seriously thinking about starting some sort of non profit homebrewing club/collective.  The "club" could then hold fundraising beer festivals 2x year and would be able to keep the profits.  The caveat is that only "members" can attend but anyone can become a club member.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: dbeechum on May 05, 2014, 10:31:27 pm
Yeah, I would imagine if you do that, you'll have the ABC looking very particular at your doings particularly since this is part of the bill:

23356.2.d.5 Only bona fide members of the nonprofit organization may attend the event.

That gives the ABC a lot of room when they issue the license to tell you to go spit.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: phunhog on May 07, 2014, 05:30:54 pm
Yeah, I would imagine if you do that, you'll have the ABC looking very particular at your doings particularly since this is part of the bill:

23356.2.d.5 Only bona fide members of the nonprofit organization may attend the event.

That gives the ABC a lot of room when they issue the license to tell you to go spit.

The whole "bona fide member" thing is up for interpretation.  Look at the California Homebrewers Assoc....there sole purpose is really to put on two homebrewing festivals a year.  Anyone can pay ten dollars and become a member.  I know of lots of people who go to the Southern CA Homebrewers Festival who don't brew and just see it as a good party.  It wouldn't be hard to start a  non-profit that focuses on homebrewing education and beer appreciation.  You could then charge a small annual membership fee (5 dollars) and host your own festival 2x a year.  Plus I don't know if the ABC can really deny a one day license to a non-profit that meets all the legal requirements. 
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: dbeechum on May 09, 2014, 08:54:33 am
One fest - they only do the SoCal fest. NCHF is put on by a whole other group.

And the one fest wasn't always the case with them, they also used to do talks, etc. But leaving it at the one fest was what I think ultimately made them vulnerable to the ABC. Now they offer discounts and are starting to gear up for more events.

And never doubt that a negative enforcement agency like the ABC, if given room, can squash your license because your hair offends the field agent or something equally silly. (This is often one of the most frustrating things about the ABC or building inspections - how the rules are interpreted all depend on who's the one doing the interp. Take for example the ability of folks in NorCal to have a commercial festival with homebrew pouring at it. We tried to get that cleared down here only to get shut down by our local office. 
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: morticaixavier on May 09, 2014, 10:45:22 am
One fest - they only do the SoCal fest. NCHF is put on by a whole other group.

And the one fest wasn't always the case with them, they also used to do talks, etc. But leaving it at the one fest was what I think ultimately made them vulnerable to the ABC. Now they offer discounts and are starting to gear up for more events.

And never doubt that a negative enforcement agency like the ABC, if given room, can squash your license because your hair offends the field agent or something equally silly. (This is often one of the most frustrating things about the ABC or building inspections - how the rules are interpreted all depend on who's the one doing the interp. Take for example the ability of folks in NorCal to have a commercial festival with homebrew pouring at it. We tried to get that cleared down here only to get shut down by our local office.

We haven't been able to do that in a while actually. My club poured at a festival two or three years ago and then the ABC noticed apparently and said no more.
Title: Re: Fundraiser Question
Post by: phunhog on May 11, 2014, 10:07:12 pm
I like Tasty's twitter comment a few weeks ago regarding the CA ABC....."they are a dictatorship with no real army".   As has been pointed out the rules/interpretations vary based on whose particular jurisdiction you are in. Frustrating to say the least!!! I think that in a lot of ways we need to stop asking permission( the answer is almost always NO!) and start begging forgiveness IF they actually try to stop us.  Now obviously you won't be able to put on an event with several thousand beer drinkers but a smaller one with perhaps a 100-200 is certainly manageable.  In fact they happen on a pretty regular basis....