Author Topic: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery  (Read 6261 times)

Offline granitebaybrewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« on: March 02, 2013, 09:52:38 AM »
Hi All,

We're a new homebrew club located near Sacramento, California. Our club, along with at least 2 others, were invited to serve our beers at a local beer festival with over 90 commercial breweries attending.  After making plans, and literally with kegs in hand, they told us that the ABC wouldn't allow us to serve--probably something to do with them collecting an entrance fee and linking this fee to the home brewed beer. The beer festival was a charity event.

Anyway, I was wondering if any club out there has started it's own club sponsored nano-brewery and obtained licensing? I believe this would answer any questions that would arise about the club serving at brew fests. Is this a viable idea? Would the club have to drop out of the AHA even though we'd be brewing on a homebrew system?

I realize there would be some complexities involved, but I thought I'd throw it out there for discussion.

Cheers,
David Long
Secretary, Placer Ultimate Brewers Society (PUBS)

Offline rbclay

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
  • Northfield, MN
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2013, 10:24:42 AM »
Pretty sure getting licensed is the definition of no longer being a homebrewer.
Randy Clay
Milltown Mashers
https://www.facebook.com/groups/404574082932834/
BJCP Certified

Offline phunhog

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 183
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2013, 11:22:26 AM »
That a bummer about you guys being shut out of the event. My club has poured at a very similar festival here in SoCal for the last five years with no problems. Of course we operate more on the "better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission" philosophy.  In fact some of us are slated to pour at a very small charity beer festival next month. On a side note.....I was talking to a co-worker who is very connected politically in CA...his wife is a former high ranking state assemblywoman. I was telling him about this "problem"...Homebrewers not being able to pour beer at charity beer festivals.  He talked to some current state politicians.....he got the impression that it would be a fairly easy fix via legislation. That there would be very little/no real opposition.

Offline Alewyfe

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
  • Fighting for Truth, Justice & Home Brew
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2013, 12:05:01 PM »
Our club was invited to pour at a local brewfest in 2011. According to the powers that be there was no problem as admission was free to the event. There was no admission charge, you only bought glasses and drink tickets and we did not require tickets for our beer.

The next year 2012, we were told we could not pour under the festivals liability insurance. We could however donate our kegs to the festival and they could dispense them for "paid tickets" the same as the commercial beers. This was apparently deemed to be OK as the festival was organized by and with proceeds going to a non-profit.

I think most of the rules are made by the local liquor commission rep depending on how they feel on any particular day. Without club members being able to pour at our own booth and talk to people about the club, etc., it has become very difficult to get members to participate in the festival. A lose:lose  situation for both us and the fest.
Diane
Roseburg, Oregon
Member: Umpqua Valley Brewers Guild
             Cascade Brewers Society
             AHA

"Growing old is mandatory. Growing up? Definitely optional!"

Offline Slowbrew

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1653
  • The Slowly Losing IT Brewery in Urbandale, IA
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 07:09:54 AM »
Our club was invited to pour at a local brewfest in 2011. According to the powers that be there was no problem as admission was free to the event. There was no admission charge, you only bought glasses and drink tickets and we did not require tickets for our beer.

The next year 2012, we were told we could not pour under the festivals liability insurance. We could however donate our kegs to the festival and they could dispense them for "paid tickets" the same as the commercial beers. This was apparently deemed to be OK as the festival was organized by and with proceeds going to a non-profit.

I think most of the rules are made by the local liquor commission rep depending on how they feel on any particular day. Without club members being able to pour at our own booth and talk to people about the club, etc., it has become very difficult to get members to participate in the festival. A lose:lose  situation for both us and the fest.

I know the whole situation is in the past but my first thought was the orginizers saw dollars being missed and wanted to increase the take.  Even if it goes to charity that seems a bit greedy to me.  I would also question wether homebrew can be donated and then sold.  Did the "donation" somehow satisfy the tax man?

Sorry your club lost the opportunity but it's probably best you didn't participate.

And for the record IANAL.  I'm just a sometimes grump guy with a tendency to see the bad side of people (especially before my first 3 cups of coffee).

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Online mtnrockhopper

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2875
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2013, 08:50:39 AM »
I've heard many stories about clubs serving 'publicly' and the situations seem to depend on mostly on state law, and somewhat on interpretation by the organizer, local ABC officials, and whether they are paying attention.  I would first start with a call to AHA to ask about California laws regarding homebrew at festivals. Some states explicitely allow this by law, some ban it by law, and most ignore it leaving it up to interpretation.

I'd be surpised if any club was interested in running a nano after the costs were accounted for. These also vary by state, but you'll need licenses, insurance, dedicated space, equipment. You'll probably get inspected. And then you'll pay tax on all that beer that you just want to give away. 

You were right not to participate in the festival this time. If you're not pouring, then you can't promote your club and homebrewing. For me, that is the only reason to do this.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 10:20:27 AM by mtnrockhopper »
Jimmy K

Delmarva United Homebrewers - President by inverse coup when the old president ousted himself.
AHA Member since 2006
BJCP: B0958

Offline bboy9000

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 216
  • KCMO
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2013, 09:10:14 AM »
I went to the Heritage Beer festival in St. Louis last year and a local homebrew club had a similar issue.  They had kegs ready and were informed about some state law although it apparently was never enforced in the past.  They ended up serving soda pop.  If there's anyone on the forum from the St. Louis Brews homebrew club they could probably give more details on the situation they encountered.
Brian
mobrewer

Offline Alewyfe

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
  • Fighting for Truth, Justice & Home Brew
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2013, 09:11:05 AM »
Our club was invited to pour at a local brewfest in 2011. According to the powers that be there was no problem as admission was free to the event. There was no admission charge, you only bought glasses and drink tickets and we did not require tickets for our beer.

The next year 2012, we were told we could not pour under the festivals liability insurance. We could however donate our kegs to the festival and they could dispense them for "paid tickets" the same as the commercial beers. This was apparently deemed to be OK as the festival was organized by and with proceeds going to a non-profit.

I think most of the rules are made by the local liquor commission rep depending on how they feel on any particular day. Without club members being able to pour at our own booth and talk to people about the club, etc., it has become very difficult to get members to participate in the festival. A lose:lose  situation for both us and the fest.

I know the whole situation is in the past but my first thought was the orginizers saw dollars being missed and wanted to increase the take.  Even if it goes to charity that seems a bit greedy to me.  I would also question wether homebrew can be donated and then sold.  Did the "donation" somehow satisfy the tax man?

Sorry your club lost the opportunity but it's probably best you didn't participate.

And for the record IANAL.  I'm just a sometimes grump guy with a tendency to see the bad side of people (especially before my first 3 cups of coffee).

Paul

I might be your sister Paul, because I saw it the exact same way. This particular festival is the biggest fund raiser for this PAC and I think the bottom line was all about $$$.  I too have no idea how the local LCC guy and the organizers figured if it was a non profit that it was OK to sell our beer. Why then wouldn't non profits be running breweries???....duh.
Diane
Roseburg, Oregon
Member: Umpqua Valley Brewers Guild
             Cascade Brewers Society
             AHA

"Growing old is mandatory. Growing up? Definitely optional!"

Offline Slowbrew

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1653
  • The Slowly Losing IT Brewery in Urbandale, IA
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2013, 10:38:56 AM »


I might be your sister Paul, because I saw it the exact same way. This particular festival is the biggest fund raiser for this PAC and I think the bottom line was all about $$$.  I too have no idea how the local LCC guy and the organizers figured if it was a non profit that it was OK to sell our beer. Why then wouldn't non profits be running breweries???....duh.

I'm not sure I need a 5th sister.   :o

You might be able to replace a couple of them though.   My 3 brothers and would need to vote someone off the island.  ;D

Paul ;D
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2013, 11:50:21 PM »
If your club has a relationship with a local brewery, you might be able to brew there.

Rogue's Issaquah Brewhouse has a small pilot system, one of my clubs brews on it occasionally and they put the beer on tap in the pub.  That is tax paid beer brewed on premises, just with different equipment, and would easily meet the requirements for any festival.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11633
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2013, 08:58:13 AM »
If your club has a relationship with a local brewery, you might be able to brew there.

Rogue's Issaquah Brewhouse has a small pilot system, one of my clubs brews on it occasionally and they put the beer on tap in the pub.  That is tax paid beer brewed on premises, just with different equipment, and would easily meet the requirements for any festival.

Our club had a similar arrangement with Rogue here that we're about to terminate.  It just didn't work out the way we anticipated.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline svejk

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 174
  • Seattle, Wa
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2013, 09:05:47 AM »
Couldn't a charity event be structured like NHC Club Night?  It seems to me that the conference has been held in a whole bunch of states, and the AHA has found a way to structure it where people can buy tickets to an event, and homebrewers can serve them.  Maybe it has something to do with the participants being members in the organization, but you'd think that the cost of the tickets for the event could be considered dues rather than an entrance fee - kinda like the days in Utah where you had to join a private club to get a beer...

Online mtnrockhopper

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2875
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2013, 09:26:15 AM »
Couldn't a charity event be structured like NHC Club Night?  It seems to me that the conference has been held in a whole bunch of states, and the AHA has found a way to structure it where people can buy tickets to an event, and homebrewers can serve them.  Maybe it has something to do with the participants being members in the organization, but you'd think that the cost of the tickets for the event could be considered dues rather than an entrance fee - kinda like the days in Utah where you had to join a private club to get a beer...
That's also because AHA only selects cities/states with laws that allow club night to happen. I hear Austin has been passed up because of legal issues.
Jimmy K

Delmarva United Homebrewers - President by inverse coup when the old president ousted himself.
AHA Member since 2006
BJCP: B0958

Offline repo

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 326
  • San Diego CA
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2013, 09:31:51 AM »
Pretty sure getting licensed is the definition of no longer being a homebrewer.

Not at all. Majorvices owns a commercial brewery, lives in a state where homebrewing is illegal, but I think he still considers himself homebrewer. Right Keith???

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew Club Running a Nano-Brewery
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2013, 10:12:30 AM »
Pretty sure getting licensed is the definition of no longer being a homebrewer.

Not at all. Majorvices owns a commercial brewery, lives in a state where homebrewing is illegal, but I think he still considers himself homebrewer. Right Keith???
The person doesn't get a license as a professional brewer, the location is licensed as a brewery.  What you do at home is something else entirely.
Tom Schmidlin