Author Topic: Homebrewing and children bad??  (Read 3480 times)

Offline pliskadm

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Homebrewing and children bad??
« on: May 22, 2010, 07:17:21 AM »
Hello all,
I am new to this both brewing and writing on forums, but I have a question to pose to the world.  Let me start with a little background story:  I am a 24 y/o college student at a local university for Mechanical Engineering who has recently fallen in love with homebrewing.  I live with a 47 y/o male and 49 y/o female and their grand-daughter.  I brew with the 47 y/o male that I live with.  The reason their grand-daughter is living their is because the mother of that girl is a derelict mother who has no care or want to be with this child.  Without going into details on all the drama that is involved, basically there will be a court hearing to grant the grand-parents that I live with to have legal guardianship over the child so as to minimize future drama from the derelict mother who currently resides with a boyfriend who uses drugs and alcohol and has weapons around the house.  Because an investigator had to walk through their house to validate the claims of drug use etc, these people have slung $h!t our way telling this investigator that we are alcoholics who brew beer in the garage.  This investigator has notified us that she will have to make a walk-through the house to "make sure we aren't brewing beer in the garage" next week.  My question is: is it a bad thing to brew with children in the house? I thought it was a wholesome activity that the entire family can get involved in as long as we contain the final product properly away from minors..

Offline karlh

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2010, 08:33:32 AM »
I think there is a clear distinction between either brewing or drinking beer and a claim of rampant alcoholism.  I am not familiar with these types of custody claims, but can only imagine that the investigator would be looking for evidence of excess.  If homebrewing and the drinking of beer are (presumably) legal in your state, lacking evidence of excessive drinking in the household, I can't see how evidence of them would negatively effect a grandparents right to take care of a child (especially given the evidence of weapons, drugs, and excessive drinking in the home of the mother). 
Karl
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Offline yaleterrace

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2010, 09:55:05 AM »
it all depends on state law in your neck of the woods.  brewing up to 200gal/year is legal in most states but not all.  have a local homebrew store?  if so, you're in a good state.

as far as the inspection is concerned, i wouldnt hide the whole setup and pretend nothings going on, esp since the investigator knows youre brewing already.  there is, however, some concern to be expressed for character assessment, since many people stigmatize homebrewing unfairly ("duh-uhhh... is that a meth lab?).  just be straight about it, and call it your hobby.

good luck, and cheers!

Offline BrewArk

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2010, 10:06:41 AM »
Make sure you are good on your safety stuff too.

Things like glass (carboys) that can fall off shelves,  ventilation during your boil, separation of kids from burners, etc.

Look at the Governmental Affairs section on the AHA website, & know the specifics for your state (make it available to any social worker that isn't up on the legality in your area?).

With that I think you'll be fine.  Heck, I did a demo for the Boy Scouts on the "Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day".

Be sober (and polite) on the day of the visit. ;)
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2010, 10:45:11 AM »
Yeah, I wouldn't try to lie and hide the brewing. Social service investigators like any cop learn to sniff out a lie in a hurry and typically that just makes them far less tolerant of anything else you might be doing/saying. BAsically, it makes you look like every other lying s***head they have to deal with.

Definitely make sure to have the relevant laws on hand (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/statutes)

Remember, this is a legal hobby and there's nothing wrong with it in moderation. Doesn't mean it won't raise eyebrows, but really, even if you get an inspector who's strictly anti-alcohol I can't help but think that same person is going to frown more heavily on illegal drug use.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2010, 11:29:01 AM »
Agree with above.  Be honest--it's a hobby, and it is legal; and you enjoy it in moderation.

Nonetheless, from the standpoint of social services, they are primarily concerned for the welfare of the child.  That's their job.

I remember a sad case I witnessed during my medical training of a rural mom cooking dinner on a wok (using oil) and as she was transferring the wok from the burner to the sink, it slipped and spilled hot oil on her son and daughter playing on the floor  near her feet.  Her daughter bore the brunt of the hot oil--face, neck, arms, back, chest, and thighs were scalded with 2nd and 3rd degree burns... 

You and your roommates are the adults here.  So do the right thing from a safety standpoint.  Unless the granddaughter is in the teens, I wouldn't recommend young restless toddlers, and elementary school children being involved or nearby, especially around burners, boiling water, glass carboys, and chemicals.  So, for the purposes of inspection and actual homebrewing practice, no kids should be involved in homebrewing unless they're teens practically ready to shoot guns and drive cars.  And certainly obey the laws of your state with regards to the drinking age.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2010, 05:15:43 PM by richardt »

Offline beerocd

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2010, 01:43:03 PM »
I think they will look at it funny because there is another activity that MO is heavy into that could use the same equipment. I don't think the issues would come from the beer making, just the possibility that it may be a front for something else that MO is known for.

The moral majority, is neither.

Offline brewmasternpb

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2010, 01:22:33 PM »
Here's the important question:  When is your lease up?  It sounds like you found yourself in some drama, might be time to move.
Dave Malone
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Offline micsager

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2010, 01:37:46 PM »
Agree with above.  Be honest--it's a hobby, and it is legal; and you enjoy it in moderation.

Nonetheless, from the standpoint of social services, they are primarily concerned for the welfare of the child.  That's their job.

I remember a sad case I witnessed during my medical training of a rural mom cooking dinner on a wok (using oil) and as she was transferring the wok from the burner to the sink, it slipped and spilled hot oil on her son and daughter playing on the floor  near her feet.  Her daughter bore the brunt of the hot oil--face, neck, arms, back, chest, and thighs were scalded with 2nd and 3rd degree burns... 

You and your roommates are the adults here.  So do the right thing from a safety standpoint.  Unless the granddaughter is in the teens, I wouldn't recommend young restless toddlers, and elementary school children being involved or nearby, especially around burners, boiling water, glass carboys, and chemicals.  So, for the purposes of inspection and actual homebrewing practice, no kids should be involved in homebrewing unless they're teens practically ready to shoot guns and drive cars.  And certainly obey the laws of your state with regards to the drinking age.

Does brewing a barrel a month equate to "moderation?"

Offline deepsouth

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2010, 01:47:53 PM »
it all depends on state law in your neck of the woods.  brewing up to 200gal/year is legal in most states but not all.  have a local homebrew store?  if so, you're in a good state.



careful on that one.  we have a wine shop that sells everything for beer, but it's totally illegal.  (he doesn't stock liquid yeast, just safale 05 and nottingham).
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2010, 01:54:46 PM »
In Alabama there are several homebrew shops, yet homebrewing is illegal in Al. It is not illegal to sell any of the ingredients to make beer so there is not really a way for the authorities to close homebrew shops.
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Offline glitterbug

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2010, 02:33:45 PM »
People have their own prejudices about things that are perfectly legal. Judges, social workers, and LEO's have a lot of power over your life and some of your choices can negatively impact their image of you. If homebrewing is PERCEIVED to be a problem, you may not like the outcome. Good luck.

Here's the important question:  When is your lease up?  It sounds like you found yourself in some drama, might be time to move.

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Offline passlaku

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2010, 08:03:46 PM »
I know this guy whose own kid reported him to the local drug task force because he didn't like his dad. (I think it was a bitter divorce situation). The kid figured that the stuff all looked suspicious enough to get his dad in trouble.  (And this was in AL where HB is still "illegal").   From what I understand the local cops did their investigation and it didn't go anywhere. 

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2010, 08:27:33 PM »
I have three little monsters and I brew with them around.  You do need to be careful around hot things, but that's about it.  In my case, they know what beer tastes like, and have decided that they don't like it at all (so far anyway), so they have virtually zero interest in my hobby except they occasionally like to take a peek at the mash or the boil to see what it looks like, but that's all.  Otherwise they just leave me alone to do my thing because that's daddy's thing and it's not really too fun for them.

I agree with others' sentiments that in most states, it is perfectly legal to brew, but you do need to find out your state's laws, to confirm that they've got nothing on you or your buddy.  Then, assuming it's legal, make it clear in court that what you are doing is perfectly legal and therefore can't be held against you.  The "investigator" should know better -- are they getting some kind of search warrant for this??  If not, you could refuse to let the investigator in, and counter that their basis for any such warrant would be flawed.

Now on the other hand, if homebrewing is not legal in your state, you could have a slight problem -- Better get rid of the equipment and all homebrew kegs/bottles immediately.  If this is the case, the investigator is basically giving you a free chance to clean up before they come over (because maybe they're really on your side?).  But as soon as the investigator leaves, you could probably sneak all the stuff back in with no one being the wiser.

In reality, regardless of legality, there is really nothing bad about homebrewing around kids as long as you're not alcoholics and you're not serving it to children.  Anyway, the feds say we can brew 200 gallons per household per year, which in my eyes basically implies that as long as you're under that, you're legally not drunks either.  Right?!
Dave

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Offline deepsouth

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Re: Homebrewing and children bad??
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2010, 04:59:20 AM »
Hoppy Homebrewers of South Mississippi (est. 2009)

AHA# 196703

bottled:     white house honey ale