dirk_mclargehuge has it pretty much right. The OLCC does not make alcohol law, they enforce the laws that the legislature passes. While they may choose to ignore a particular regulation, in this case the homebrew law, they cannot choose to not enforce the law when they are specifically asked if a certain action is legal.
Here's the statute as it stands:
Oregon statute Title 37 Chapter 471 §471.403
471.403 License required to produce alcoholic liquor; exception. (1) No person
shall brew, ferment, distill, blend or rectify any alcoholic liquor unless licensed so to do
by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. However, the Liquor Control Act does not
apply to the making or keeping of naturally fermented wines and fruit juices or beer in
the home, for home consumption and not for sale.
As I understand the situation in Oregon, the issue came up when a brewery contacted the OLCC to determine if there were any legal issues for them to host a homebrew competition. The OLCC looked into and found that the statute pretty clearly states that homemade beer and wine can only be made for home consumption. This is what prompted the state fair organizers to question whether or not they could legally hold a homebrew competition.
From what I've been told, the OLCC is supportive of changing the law so that they don't have to deal with homebrewers or homebrew competitions and can get back to their primary job of collecting taxes, license fees, and fines from alcohol beverage manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Antagonizing the OLCC will not help our cause, we need them to support homebrew legislation in 2011. If the OLCC chooses to oppose homebrew legislation, it will make legislators much less inclined to vote for homebrew legislation.
Ted Hausotter has posted a website to keep Oregon homebrewers apprised of what's going on: http://oregonhomebrewersalliance.org/
. It just went live so there's not much there yet, but it will be used for posting updates on the legislative process. To date, several legislators have already indicated they would support legislation to make the homebrew law in Oregon less restrictive. Initial language for a bill is being drafted. So progress is being made!
There's not a whole lot to do in terms of direct action until we get closer to the start of the 2011 legislative session. It probably wouldn't hurt for homebrewers in Oregon to contact the state representative and senator for their district, politely point to the situation with the State Fair homebrew competition, and ask that they support legislation in the next session to allow homebrew to be served at homebrew competitions, club meetings, and other organized events.