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Messages - phunhog

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Homebrew Clubs / Re: Accepting Donations
« on: September 02, 2014, 10:42:13 PM »
Here in CA it is legal to donate beer to a charity event.  In the past the charities have sent out nice letters thanking us for the donation of beer and providing us with their tax i.d. number so that we can take a legal tax deduction. I always felt better about doing that than accepting a monetary donation from the charity we were helping.

ABC could try arresting a business owner for cooking a sugar solution without yeast?  Only in California!

So much for the land of the free.   :'(
I really think the ABC is over reaching here. Obviously wort doesn't contain alcohol until the introduction of yeast but I seriously wonder if the ABC even knows this.  Can somebody explain to me how they can regulate a product/activity that doesn't even contain alcohol?  I hope a LHBS stands up to them!!

You know I don't know or have heard of anyone equating homebrew/homebrewing with moonshining, scofflaws, or scoundrels.  This is not the 1930's nor is it Alabama. 

No offense but just becasue you haven't heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't happen.  We had to fight attitudes like that in OR in the 2000s to get our bill passed.  There are a lot more of those people out there than you might realize.

So in your experience were those attitudes coming from people who just generally anti any and all alcohol?  I can see a group like Alcohol Justice being against us because they are against any relaxation of alcohol laws regardless of type.  Barring the anti-alcohol types are there people in the alcohol industry, or even craft beer industry, who look at us as "moonshiners" and want to have restrictive laws on homebrewing?

You need to talk with more enforcement folks! Most think we're a-okay. Some think homebrewing is a cousin of moonshining and some feel like the whole thing should be illegal. (Also, Alcohol Justice will comment on any bill dealing with alcohol)

I imagine the source of the amendments was the ABC and law enforcement working with various legislators.

This was an easy bill to get passed because it's still a special case thing. If the ABC sees a lot of profit driven fests appearing I imagine they'll push back on the licensing aspect. I also suspect the sheer mechanical work of the process (finding a location, getting leo approval, getting the license, etc) will keep it from becoming a giant thing.

Now, the next part - the making it possible for homebrew clubs to meet/compete/etc in a licensed establishment is going to be the really fun one and I would expect more resistance to that effort. The concerns about confusion, potential sales and enforcement of separation are going to be even more heightened.

Yeah I was thinking of smaller events 200-300 people max.  ABC issues one day permits for alcohol sales to non profits all the time for special events.
So moving further down the road why does the ABC have a concern on where a homebrew club meets?   My club meets in the back of a local brewery.  I am trying to rack my brain thinking of any potential issues that could occur and can't think of any.  IF anything I would think that they would want it in an establishment that regulates alcohol vs. someplace that doesn't. 

You know I don't know or have heard of anyone equating homebrew/homebrewing with moonshining, scofflaws, or scoundrels.  This is not the 1930's nor is it Alabama.  Look at both popular opinion and recent actions by the CA legislation.  AB 1425 and AB 2609 passed without a single "nay" vote and only one "neo-prohibition" group registered as against either legislation.   Also remember that the ABC does not make regulations, only the legislation can do that, they only enforce existing regulations.  So I am a little perplexed by who added/approved amendments such as seperating homebrew from commercial.   It seems like we could get a lot more than we asked for from a practical political perspective for and hopefully these will be addressed in the future.
As a side note I wonder how many non profit homebrew organizations/clubs will pop up and really use this new law.  It would seem that it could really open up some doors such as organizing a beer festival to raise funds for the club.

I agree everything we do should be on the up and up and not try to hide anything.  However you bring up an interesting point regarding homebrewers "fronting" as pro brewers.   I am one of those "rogue" brewers.  I started donating beer several years ago under my "label" once I saw that my local brew club was doing the same thing. Obviously this was before passage of the new laws.....ignorance is/was bliss.  I still don't see why I can't continue to do the same thing...of course with the new labeling laws in place.   Most guys have a name for their brewery.....I just took it a step farther with an actual logo and t-shirts/mugs/stickers for sale.   When I pour at charity events people want to know where they can find my beer.  Of course I am honest and tell them that my beer is homebrewed and not for sale, and the only place they can find it is local charity events.  I can't imagine how the ABC would/could have any legal opinion of what donated homebrew can or can't be called.  I am interested in how you see it Drew....

When enforcement happens, it's sorta terrifying. This year with the change in the law the ABC threatened the CHA board of directors with arrest if they put on the fest, so.. woo.

That's what happens when an enforcement agency feels like you're flaunting the law.
Wow!! That's crazy!!  BUT as a AHA and CHA member why wasn't that brought to our attention?  I would LOVE for a news outlet to run a story on the CA ABC threatening to jail people for putting on a charity homebrew event.   As evidenced by the recent vote on AB 2609....which didn't receive a single "nay" vote we have both the legislature and public opinion on our side.   I have noticed a trend in homebrewing laws....nothing gets accomplished until someone gets in trouble or at least there is a threat of trouble.  That is how both 1425 and 2609 have been passed.  The ABC tries to enforce a "dumb" law, citizens notify their politicians, and the law is subsequently changed.   

Alcohol rules don't have to make sense - the authorities know it and the legislators fear unregulated use, so they impose silly limitations.  Thanks AHA and those who rally the meek toward enlightenment!

So true!!  Then we are stuck with silly laws that don't make sense, aren't enforced, yet we still try to abide by them.

That's awesome!!  The CA ABC is an interesting agency.....they have tens of thousands of alcohol establishments to regulate but only something like 125 alcohol agents for the entire state.  I believe Tasty once tweeted something along the lines of....."CA ABC is like a dictatorship with no army"

We just sent out an action alert to our California members about an up-coming Senate hearing for California AB 2609, which would allow for homebrewer organizations to host homebrew events, in particular events like the Southern California Homebrewers Festival and the AHA National Homebrewers Conference.  The bill recently was passed unanimously by the Assembly and is now scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Governmental Organizations Committee.  We ask California homebrewers to write to the committee chair in support of the bill.

You can see the alert at:
Gary....I am glad that so far AB 2609 been passing easily. However I am confused by a recent amendment (7/2) to AB 2609.   It reads.....Beer or wine produced pursuant to this section may only be provided or served to the public pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (3) within a clearly identified area, that includes, but is not limited to, a physical barrier with a monitored point of entry. Beer or wine produced by a beer manufacturer or winegrower as defined in Sections 23012 and 23013, respectively, and licensed by the department, shall not be provided or served to the public within this area.
It seems to me that homebrewed beer/wine has to be served in a seperate area than commercial beer/wine and you have to have a "hall monitor" watching people go in and out?   Is that true?
The problem I have with it is I am currently donating homebrew to various charities/non profit events.  These events also feature commercial beer/wine to some degree.  It is highly doubtful that anyone is going to set up a special area complete with a physical barrier and monitored point of entry just because there is homemade beer/wine.  So any idea why this ridiculous amendment was put into AB 2609?

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Fundraiser Question
« on: May 11, 2014, 09:07:12 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....

Going Pro / Re: Hop contracts and obtaining hops
« on: May 07, 2014, 05:28:08 PM »
So I know as a homebrewer I can find the most popular hops for somewhere around 16-22 dollar a pound. Just curious as to what a brewery with a hop contract pays per pound for the popular varieties. 

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Fundraiser Question
« on: May 07, 2014, 04:30:54 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. 

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Fundraiser Question
« on: May 05, 2014, 05:14:33 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.

Going Pro / Re: Biggest barrier?
« on: April 24, 2014, 09:57:04 PM »

How many folks here have tried and failed?

Funny thing about the Internet, people love to talk about how awesome they are, but they get real quiet when they fail. It's really too bad, because I think there's a lot to be learned from failure, and better still when it's others' failure.

That's a great point!!  The other thing we never hear about is how much are breweries making?  I have heard/read countless times that it takes almost 1 million to establish a 15-30bbl production brewery.  I am sure it varies quite a bit but what is a ballpark ROI in the first couple of years?
I am going to buy me a second vacation house in Florida this summer. Doing quite good. Join the party bro.
Now that's funny!!  Honestly though.....someone spends hundreds of thousands of dollars and the reality is that they have "bought themselves a job".  Unless of course there is some sort of financial reward that I am missing.  It seems like unless you are a major player (Stone, Dogfish, Deschutes, etc....) the chances of are somewhat slim that any significant money will be made? 

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