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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: astrivian on August 09, 2010, 12:25:07 AM

Title: out of curiosity...
Post by: astrivian on August 09, 2010, 12:25:07 AM
Let's say that i am interested in selling one of my beers. What, legally, do i have to do to enable that?
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: jalynn2 on August 09, 2010, 01:20:28 AM
If you are planning on doing it regularly and publicly, you will need a brewer's license. If it's a one-time private transaction, well, I don't think it's ever legal to sell homebrew, but...
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: tygo on August 09, 2010, 02:38:36 AM
There's nothing that you can realistically do, on a homebrew level, to make it legal to sell your beer.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: wingnut on August 09, 2010, 04:50:16 AM
The Brewing Network had an episode that covered "nano" brewing that may be of interest to you.  However, you will need to research your local state regulations as a start.  Each state is different, so advice from someone in one state may vary slightly from the next.

Good luck!
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: majorvices on August 09, 2010, 12:48:19 PM
Let's say that i am interested in selling one of my beers. What, legally, do i have to do to enable that?

I am in the process of opening a brewery and let me just say the the federal TTB lic. is only one hurdle you are going to have to jump. There is also local regulations that are just simply going to shock you. Be prepared to spend at least $80,000 just to get off the ground, unless you are planning on going REALLY small and, in that case, be prepared to constantly lose money while supplying a small bar with beer.

To give you an idea we are starting with basically a 3 bbl system (or, to be more correct, a brew system that is capable of brewing 1.5 bbls that we back to back batch into 3bbl fermenters.) And we are looking to be able to supply only 2 or 3 bars until our big system is finally ready. On the books, unless you start off with around a 6 or 7 bbl brewery you are going to be losing money every month. And you really need about a 15 bbl system to really float the boat.

There are mounds and mounds of paper work. There are local laws that may cause you to have to go through a distributor. There are inspections, limits, regulations, and fees. Lots of fees.

We have been hit by many surprises by local officials. One of the biggest surprises was the $5,000 in food grade lights we had to have to pass inspection. Or the explosion proof grain room including fan and hundreds of dollars in outles and light switches that would not ignite a spark (stupid, I know.) Or the glass interceptor we had to install even though we are not planning on bottling - also $5,000. There's also $1000s of dollars of fees and lic you have to pay annually. There's lots more, I just don't have time to give you all the info.

If you are planning on just selling a few beers out your door be warned, the TTB does not think this is fine, funny or cute, nor does your local Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. They want their revenue. If they find out, they will arrest you!
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: tubercle on August 09, 2010, 01:11:19 PM
Let's say that i am interested in selling one of my beers. What, legally, do i have to do to enable that?

 One beer, legally. Probably about $25,000.

 One beer illegally, counting fines, lawyer and court fees. Probably about $25,000.

 Works out the same either way.
 
 Unless it is some huge grain bill barley wine, you probably have less than $0.50 in it, maybe $1.50 total counting the bottle.

 Just give it away.

Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: babalu87 on August 09, 2010, 01:54:02 PM
Wow Keith, sounds like Alabama is pretty harsh with their regs?

There is a guy on HBT who has a nano-brewery in a garage behind his house and it doesnt sound like he had to jump through half the hurdles you have had to.

Good for you on staying the course
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: majorvices on August 09, 2010, 02:03:30 PM
Wow Keith, sounds like Alabama is pretty harsh with their regs?

There is a guy on HBT who has a nano-brewery in a garage behind his house and it doesnt sound like he had to jump through half the hurdles you have had to.

Good for you on staying the course

You have no idea how many regs and hurdles you have to jump through in Alabama - I haven't even scratched the surface. I will say that I have a hard time believing the TTB would ever allow anyone to sell beer from their house. Its possible that they could shut him down if they decided to actually visit for an inspection. Not to mention having a business in a residential area. Not a lot of places are going to go for that. It may be that he has a unique location and situation. I think it is safe to assume that 99% of homebrewers would not be able to do this at their homes.

I also just noticed the OP is only interested in selling ONE beer. FTR, even if you do decide you want to sell one or two beers there is a couple thousand dollars in fees you have to pay before you are licensed to sell beer, at the very minimum.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: astrivian on August 10, 2010, 02:26:11 AM
oh my. This is sort of what i expected. Yea, i will stick to giving it away to friends.

Thanks all!
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: euge on August 10, 2010, 05:27:45 AM
Is it a couple thousand to make and sell or just sell, like a bar, restaurant or corner store?

Here in Texas, not known for any sort of a liberal view on alcohol and only just a few years back: a beer and wine license to serve and sell was a measly $150, while the liquor license was 10K each year for three years. I'm sure brewing and selling, distributing and or serving costs a great deal more. Hoops appear. Endless forms are filled out, and checks written. Govt entities wet their beaks...

As far as making a profit, I don't think I'm saving much money homebrewing when everything is factored in. In a business it has to be worse, and labor being a big factor. One can't do everything for free by themselves for very long and good people cost money.

But astrivan's probably chewing over what we all have/will at some point when we start enjoying the fruit of our labors. Oh that wasn't so hard and everyone loves it! Why not sell it? The Law sez so. That's why.




Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: babalu87 on August 10, 2010, 12:17:51 PM
oh my. This is sort of what i expected. Yea, i will stick to giving it away to friends.

Thanks all!

Nothing to say your friends can kick in for a sack of grain, pound of hops etc.

Oh, they should be returning those bottles rinsed out.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: majorvices on August 10, 2010, 12:20:04 PM
Euge - if you are just going to sell you still have to a have a liq. lic. and that costs a grand or so. But you have to have paperwork where that beer came from. The one thing you don;t want to do is do something tricky aand get caught by the TTB. In addition to a huge fine you could possibly go to jail.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: hopaddicted on August 10, 2010, 02:24:37 PM
The hassle free joy of barter!

I find that if you give enough away (I can't keep up with my brewing schedule), people will go out of there way to help you get what you need. In the past year alone, I have had a kegging system, four fridges, books, bottles, carriers, and welding services donated. Though I have never received a penny for my brew, I have saved a ton without any of the worries!
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: beerocd on August 10, 2010, 03:14:04 PM
Barter is taxable. Just give your friends some great beer out of the kindness of your heart and possibly they will return the favor sometime when they are in a position to do so. Then it is not taxable, because there was no exchange of goods or money.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: astrivian on August 11, 2010, 10:44:44 PM
oh my. This is sort of what i expected. Yea, i will stick to giving it away to friends.

Thanks all!

Nothing to say your friends can kick in for a sack of grain, pound of hops etc.

Oh, they should be returning those bottles rinsed out.

Oh for sure, particularly the 22s. The 12s i am not so worried about. I buy enough beer to keep myself supplied with 12 oz bottles. Actually i have quite a surplus in the garage :)

Someone mentioned to me one method is to get friendly with a local bar/brewery. They might buy the recipe and brew/sell it and give me a cut of the profits. Any word on that? I have a few places in mind that MAY be interested (it is still a long shot). I heard that some places will brew it themselves, using your recipe, and let you "supervise" the brewing. That way YOU are not brewing, they are. I think the way to get attention on this level would be to enter the beer into some competitions. If i start winning, maybe people will take me seriously. Still though, i am a serious noob at this. I just got lucky with one recipe.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: majorvices on August 11, 2010, 10:52:32 PM

Someone mentioned to me one method is to get friendly with a local bar/brewery. They might buy the recipe and brew/sell it and give me a cut of the profits. Any word on that? e.

I know a lot of people who have brewed their recipes on professional systems and had their beer served on tap at the pub, even GABF. None of them ever got paid, aside from a few pints. This is all done for free. I can understand your desire to make money brewing.

One thing you can do is start up by having someone contract brew your recipe. But be aware you will be fronting the cash for all licensing. You will also have to pay the brewery to brew your beer. Still, this is probably the most feasible approach if you don;t have the time or capital to open your own brewery.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: denny on August 12, 2010, 03:42:28 PM
Someone mentioned to me one method is to get friendly with a local bar/brewery. They might buy the recipe and brew/sell it and give me a cut of the profits. Any word on that? I have a few places in mind that MAY be interested (it is still a long shot). I heard that some places will brew it themselves, using your recipe, and let you "supervise" the brewing. That way YOU are not brewing, they are. I think the way to get attention on this level would be to enter the beer into some competitions. If i start winning, maybe people will take me seriously. Still though, i am a serious noob at this. I just got lucky with one recipe.

I've had a few recipes brewed by commercial breweries, the largest being Rogue.  I got free beer out of it, but never any $$.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: beveragebob on August 13, 2010, 07:57:48 AM
A way to make a small fortune in the brewing business is to (drum roll please!) start with a large fortune....ba da boom!
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: bluesman on August 13, 2010, 01:47:36 PM
A way to make a small fortune in the brewing business is to (drum roll please!) start with a large fortune....ba da boom!

This is definitely one of the biggest hurdles.  It takes a million or two to get a nice headstart.  Not to mention all of the other hats that are required.

Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: majorvices on August 13, 2010, 05:29:44 PM
That's not really true. You can actually get a fairly reasonably priced 7 bbl system for around 80-100K.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: Malticulous on August 13, 2010, 06:28:47 PM
A friend of mine was in some partnership trying to open a brewery. I don't know the whole story but it never did happen. They never manages to sell even one beer.

Miller bought one of the trade marks he owned, "Red Dog." That was supposed to be their flagship beer. The rights to the name was worth more than the recipie.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: majorvices on August 13, 2010, 06:35:11 PM
How about that? I remember Red Dog though I never drank it that I recall. he must have been trying to open one back in the late 80s/early 90s?
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: bluesman on August 13, 2010, 06:43:03 PM
That would be a great name for a brewery.  I remember Red Dog...is it still around?
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: weithman5 on August 13, 2010, 07:31:58 PM
i think i saw some red dog in the store. but everything blends together who knows :-\
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: abraxas on August 14, 2010, 01:36:20 AM
Red Dog had a huge marketing push in the 90's, everybody in my Jr. High had Red Dog sticker/patches/t-shirts.

I've never had it but I think I've seen the bums in my alley drinking it.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: hopaddicted on August 14, 2010, 02:34:23 AM
One of my college dives had a Red Dog special, it was not very good. I didn't have a pot to piss in, drank primarily Beast Ice, Old Mil, and Busch and I thought it was bad, that's scary!
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: micsager on August 14, 2010, 04:24:10 AM
Let's say that i am interested in selling one of my beers. What, legally, do i have to do to enable that?

I don't sell beer.  But, I do rent bottles.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: Malticulous on August 14, 2010, 04:52:09 PM
IMO Red Dog was just another low end lager with some food coloring, but it has been twenty years or so since I had one. Their's was and Irish Red ale. I has some of it at his daughter's wedding. His brother brought it. He was the brewer.

He still owns some more names. The only other one I know of is White Rhino. Doesn't come off as very tasty to me but it could work for rye beer. I wish he could succeed in opening a brewery now. I need a new job.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: akr71 on August 16, 2010, 06:15:54 PM

Nothing to say your friends can kick in for a sack of grain, pound of hops etc.

Oh, they should be returning those bottles rinsed out.
+1  A couple of times friends who either don't have the space or support of their wives have asked if they can brew with me.  They pick a style, I put together the recipe, we split the cost and the batch - both times, they've insisted on giving me more than 50% of the cost.  Another has offered up his (licensed) plumbing skills or excellent carpentry skills in return for a batch.

Brewday is as much fun as sampling the finished wares, so I have no problem giving my beer away and if I can cut my costs down a bit - even better.
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: yugamrap on August 17, 2010, 01:27:07 AM
To quote Ohio Revised Code 4301:01, “sale” and “sell” include exchange, barter, gift, offer for sale, sale, distribution and delivery of any kind, and the transfer of title or possession of beer and intoxicating liquor either by constructive or actual delivery by any means or devices whatever....

I suppose if they wanted to, Ohio's Liquor Control authorities could even enforce on beer that is gifted - or even shared at a homebrewers' club meeting, competition, fair, etc.  since that would meet the definitions of "distribution" and "sale."  Of course, I don't know whether that has ever happened, and I doubt it has.  And I presume that, as long as one acts responsibly and doesn't get carried away, it is unlikely that the authorities would be alerted or take any enforcement action.

All that said, I've been known to give beer away, take it to club meetings, and enter competitions. 
Title: Re: out of curiosity...
Post by: freddy2 on August 17, 2010, 03:08:32 AM
Brew the beer, chill it and put it in a fermenter. Sell it, to whoever, with a pack of yeast. It's up to them ( with your help at their house, if needed) from then on. You've done nothing but sell an nonalcoholic malt beverage. I don't think that's illegal anywhere.