Author Topic: Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?  (Read 1610 times)

Online el_capitan

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Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« on: December 16, 2016, 12:24:20 AM »
A couple of my buddies are starting a brewpub here in Alexandria, MN.  It's our first local brewery in over 70 years, so it's pretty exciting.  I've been involved with their brewing journey and helping behind the scenes for a couple years now.  Yesterday, we brewed pilot batch #1, an Irish Blonde.  We were shooting for 7.25 barrels into the fermenter, and hit it pretty much right on.  We still had at least 10 gallons of clear wort in the kettle with a really nice sediment cone in the center from the whirlpool. 

Our question is - would it be legal for them to provide the wort to another person rather than just dump it down the drain?  For instance, could they each take a bucket of wort home and ferment it as homebrew, to be served through their home kegging systems?  Could I take a bucket or two of wort home?  Does it have to be a donation-type transaction, or could they actually sell the wort if people bring their own sanitized buckets to fill?

Take it a step further - I was thinking it would be cool to partner with our local homebrewing community for a brew-off.  Have interested homebrewers sign up ahead of time, so we know how much extra wort to produce.  Maybe each person pays a small fee of $15-20, which would not only pay for the wort, but also pay for eventual entry of their beer into a brewing competition.  The homebrewers could choose to take the base wort in any direction they wanted to - yeast strains and ferment temps, secondary additions, dry hops, etc.  Schedule a tasting session or local competition 6 weeks later.  Possibly even have the winner's beer brewed as a special release at the brewery? 

I'm excited by the idea, and wondered how it might work out legally with the TTB board.  I haven't mentioned it to the guys yet, because they're busy brewing pilot batch #2, an American Brown ale.  Just kicking some ideas around here.

Online Stevie

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Re: Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2016, 12:30:10 AM »
Heritic gives away barrels of wort at AHA rallies. That's California, so rules in MN might be different. From what I've been told, wort becomes beer and taxable when yeast is added, so no yeast at the brewery.

Online el_capitan

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Re: Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2016, 12:45:02 AM »
Ok, that's helpful.  I wonder if there are any issues with essentially selling a "food product" without a food license?  Maybe this is kind of a gray area, because nobody would go drink wort, unless they were one of those weird Malta Goya fans.   :o

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Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2016, 12:50:57 AM »
Selling it sounds like too much of a PIA. Shelf life of chilled wort is hours, not days. This means the brewery would need to organize when folks would pick it up, how the buyers pay, and would need to be on schedule to avoid making people mad.

Maybe it would work for one off or club brew days where people take shares.

Online el_capitan

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Re: Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2016, 12:59:04 AM »
All good points.  I just hated to see all of that nice wort going down the drain.  It smelled amazing in there.  I was wishing I had thought to bring a sanitized fermenter with me.  Maybe next time.  Mainly I wanted to be sure they wouldn't get in trouble for allowing me to dispose of the wort, rather than dumping it down the drain.

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Re: Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2016, 01:23:41 AM »
If timing is good, do it. I just think doing a regular deal would be rough.

Offline bryantgish

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Re: Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2016, 02:19:57 AM »
I thinks Surly has done a full batch that they gave away as a home brew contest. It was a you ferment and bottle some and return it to be entered in the contest. I think if you go to you tube and type in AHA Rally at Surly Brewing Company (and wort giveaway!) it should take you right to it!

Offline riverrat

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Re: Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2016, 02:44:06 PM »
Surly did do a wort give away for an AHA Rally.  This would have been at least 5 (probably more) years ago.  I do not recall anything about returning some for a competition, but I was too busy drinking mine to care.
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Offline flars

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Re: Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2016, 02:57:46 PM »
All good points.  I just hated to see all of that nice wort going down the drain.  It smelled amazing in there.  I was wishing I had thought to bring a sanitized fermenter with me.  Maybe next time.  Mainly I wanted to be sure they wouldn't get in trouble for allowing me to dispose of the wort, rather than dumping it down the drain.
You wouldn't even need a fermentor just a bucket.  As soon as you get it home heat the wort beyond pasteurization temperature then cool and pitch your yeast.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2016, 04:57:57 PM »
A brewery in Chicago did a hombrew competition with a large homebrew club.  The wort was given away for free.  So I believe that giving away wort is not illegal at the federal level; don't know about MN laws.  IIRC, Granite City trucks wort around and does not pitch yeast until it delivers the wort to one of its pubs.

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Re: Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2016, 02:07:17 PM »
There is a line on the TTB monthly report where it talks about wort and beer shipped or received. I haven't done the TTB report in a few years (because I sucked at it lol) but I can check and see on monday what exactly it said. A gentle PM reminder wouldn't hurt. ;)

Of course your local laws are something else all together.

Online el_capitan

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Re: Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2016, 04:56:19 PM »
Sounds good.  Thanks, Keith.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Can a brewpub give away or sell extra wort?
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2016, 04:07:14 PM »
Ok, that's helpful.  I wonder if there are any issues with essentially selling a "food product" without a food license?  Maybe this is kind of a gray area, because nobody would go drink wort, unless they were one of those weird Malta Goya fans.   :o

If it's not beer it's a food product and subject to FDA regulation.
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