Author Topic: Problem with club growth in VA  (Read 4283 times)

Offline jydhokie

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Problem with club growth in VA
« on: May 13, 2013, 07:42:56 AM »
We have a small homebrew club named the Trainwreck Brewers in Danville, VA.  We were experiencing decent growth with our involvement in the local beer festival, discounts at the local craft beer shops, and a permanent meeting location in a building next door to one of the craft beer shops in town.  The building was also owned by the owner of a craft beer shop and actually had an open entrance into the shop itself, but because of the seperate address, it didn't affect their ABC license.  We had about 15-20 active members and seemed to be getting a new person about every month.  Since that time, the craft beer store has changed owners and the current ownership has other plans for the meeting spot.  We haven't been able to secure a new permanent meeting spot despite interest from many local merchants and businesses in the area. The Virginia ABC has told them it would affect their current ABC license.  Because of this, we meet at different members houses each month.  Active membership has dropped down to about 6-8 and we haven't seen a new member in a long time. I have heard this is a common problem, but I sent out an email to all of the listed homebrew clubs in VA with only 1 response.  I was wondering if anyone had any insight into this issue, especially in VA.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2013, 09:25:02 AM »
It may help if you just don't bring homebrew to all of your meetings.  You can do every other meeting at a bar and talk/drink beer, and the rest of the time you meet at someone's house and sample homebrew.

The best option for the long term is to work to get the law changed to allow homebrew to be taken to private tastings.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Bruce B

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2013, 10:37:17 AM »
Looking at the BJCP scheduled competition page I'm seeing two competitions currently scheduled in VA.  One is in Lynchburg which according to Google Maps is about an hour away from Danville.  Here is the web site for the competition - http://hopsanity.hillcityhomebrew.org/.  Since they will need a hall or location of some sorts to host their event I'd suggest reaching out to these guys and ask them how they're handling it. 

One other suggestion - try exploring other types of facilities like banquet halls, community centers, VFW posts, and church halls.  These places might also have the appropriate licensing needed to host your meetings.
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Offline jydhokie

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2013, 11:37:28 AM »
Thanks for your responses.
In Kegs: Belgian Dubbel with Amarillo and Citra IPA
In Fermenter:  Citra and Galaxy IPA
Up next:  Pumpkin Ales from Zymurgy

Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2013, 12:33:46 PM »
Maybe you could find a restaurant without a liquor license to host. I'm assuming that the problem is with bringing unlicensed alcohol into a licensed place, so a place with no license might not need to worry. Granted, those locations might not be "cool" locations for a meeting and they probably aren't common anyway.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 06:33:30 AM »
My club is in the Northern VA area and we meet in a room at a local bar.  There's no problem bringing and tasting homebrew as long as we limit each pour to 2 oz.  We've visited other local bars for the occasional meeting and have been able to pour at those places as well. 
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Offline jydhokie

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 07:26:17 AM »
My club is in the Northern VA area and we meet in a room at a local bar.  There's no problem bringing and tasting homebrew as long as we limit each pour to 2 oz.  We've visited other local bars for the occasional meeting and have been able to pour at those places as well.

I wish someone would talk to our ABC representation down here.  That is the way I interpreted the law as well, but in conversations with people who have talked to him, he will not allow sampling of homebrew in a local bar even if the samples are kept to two ounces.
In Kegs: Belgian Dubbel with Amarillo and Citra IPA
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Up next:  Pumpkin Ales from Zymurgy

Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2013, 09:45:12 AM »
It sure seems like the ABC rep is wrong from the highlighted quote below.  Maybe try contacting someone else for clarification - someone above him at ABC or one of your state legislators.
 
Quote
s 4.1-200 Exemptions from licensure.

The licensure requirements of this chapter shall not apply to:
 
6. Any person who manufactures at his residence or at a gourmet brewing shop for domestic consumption at his residence, but not to be sold, dispensed or given away, except as hereinafter provided, wine or beer or both, in an amount not to exceed the limits permitted by federal law.

Any person who manufactures beer in accordance with this subdivision may remove from his residence an amount not to exceed fifteen gallons of such beer on any one occasion for (i) personal or family use, provided such use does not violate the provisions of this title or Board regulations; (ii) giving to any person to whom beer may be lawfully sold an amount not to exceed seventy-two ounces per person per year, provided such gift is for noncommercial purposes; or (iii) giving to any person to whom beer may lawfully be sold a sample of such beer, not to exceed two ounces by volume for on-premises consumption at events organized for judging or exhibiting such beer, including events held on the premises of a retail licensee. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to authorize the sale of such beer.
Jimmy K

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

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2013, 09:52:21 AM »
As I understand it from recent experience here in California the ABC rep is never wrong. They may not be interpreting the rules the way you or I or a competent lawyer might but as the ABC rep their interpretation is correct.
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Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2013, 09:56:42 AM »
Perhaps contact him directly then. Tell him you want to organize an event that is legal under that part of the law and ask what is required. At least it will make him think about it.  Maybe you just need to make each meeting a "competition". Each person brings beer to sample, everyone votes, and the winner each month gets a certificate.
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Offline tcanova

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2013, 09:59:02 AM »
We have 2 meetings a month.  One is where we bring our homebrew and conduct the actual business of the club and the second is what we call our social where we go, usually to a local brewery or pub and socialize more. 
What's the worst that could happen?  Beer?


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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2013, 12:55:40 PM »
It sure seems like the ABC rep is wrong from the highlighted quote below.  Maybe try contacting someone else for clarification - someone above him at ABC or one of your state legislators.
 
Quote
s 4.1-200 Exemptions from licensure.

The licensure requirements of this chapter shall not apply to:
 
6. Any person who manufactures at his residence or at a gourmet brewing shop for domestic consumption at his residence, but not to be sold, dispensed or given away, except as hereinafter provided, wine or beer or both, in an amount not to exceed the limits permitted by federal law.

Any person who manufactures beer in accordance with this subdivision may remove from his residence an amount not to exceed fifteen gallons of such beer on any one occasion for (i) personal or family use, provided such use does not violate the provisions of this title or Board regulations; (ii) giving to any person to whom beer may be lawfully sold an amount not to exceed seventy-two ounces per person per year, provided such gift is for noncommercial purposes; or (iii) giving to any person to whom beer may lawfully be sold a sample of such beer, not to exceed two ounces by volume for on-premises consumption at events organized for judging or exhibiting such beer, including events held on the premises of a retail licensee. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to authorize the sale of such beer.
Wow, that is stunning.  While mort is right that the ABC rep is always "right", this one clearly either doesn't know the relevant law or has read it and is an idiot.  Anyone shut down by the ABC for this would win in court, but at the cost of lost business and lawyers fees, so it's obviously not worth it.

Although there is some curious wording from the OP - "The Virginia ABC has told them it would affect their current ABC license."  Affect how?  I read it first to mean it is illegal, but since it is clearly not maybe they meant something else.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline jydhokie

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2013, 02:36:24 PM »
I certainly do appreciate everyone's feedback.  I read the exact same section of the code of virginia and I interpreted it the same way.  I sent an email to Virginia ABC today to get clarification.  The problem is that the same ABC agent allowed us to serve homebrew in the VIP tent of the local beer festival, so we are treading lightly so we don't rock the boat and ruin that opportunity.  If any of you saw the moonshiners show on the discovery channel, our ABC agent is the same one on season 1 of that show(Jesse Tate), so you can draw your own conclusions.
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Up next:  Pumpkin Ales from Zymurgy

Offline SecondRow_Sean

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2013, 06:22:54 PM »
Not to hijack this thread, but that moonshiners show is a load of crap. They aren't making anything. If you let a camera crew film you doing something illegal, and broadcast it on cable television, you would be arrested

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Offline 1gr8da

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Re: Problem with club growth in VA
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2013, 04:26:33 PM »
We have a brew club here in Virginia and have experienced some of the same pains. We have currently landed in a good spot but it has changed the landscape of the club. We now meet at the clubhouse in some of the members neighborhood. The HOA Board has been very supportive yet they have some difficult rules namely one. Since our club has "non-residents" we were required to incorporate and are in the process of finding general liability insurance to ensure the neighborhood is covered in the event of an accident as the "non-residents" are not covered under the neighborhood policy. This has forced us to establish a dues structure and a lot of promotion in the neighborhood. This has actually worked out for us because it is forcing us to develop a strong infrastructure as we grow. If you have a member with a clubhouse, I would recommend checking them out.