Author Topic: Question about starting a Hombrew Club in VA  (Read 628 times)

Offline Samuel Bowles

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Question about starting a Hombrew Club in VA
« on: August 24, 2018, 03:22:02 AM »
Hi all! I have been looking everywhere for an answer and do not really have an idea where to find some concrete information on this topic.

We tried to start our homebrew club a few months ago and our local brewery graciously decided to host it for us. Well, as we found out, we cannot drink homebrew at our local brewery because ABC (infuriatingly) says that if it is not made there it cannot be drank there.

So, short of getting a $55 banquet license every month, we do not know what we can and cannot do in order to start our homebrew club. I am trying to find out where some of you meet for your Virginia homebrew clubs, and what solutions you have come up with regarding this very annoying and money-grabbing issue?

Any advice about starting a homebrew club as well is also absolutely appreciated!

Cheers and happy brewing!
Relax, don't worry, and as always, have a homebrew.

Offline goose

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Re: Question about starting a Hombrew Club in VA
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2018, 01:14:46 PM »
Hi all! I have been looking everywhere for an answer and do not really have an idea where to find some concrete information on this topic.

We tried to start our homebrew club a few months ago and our local brewery graciously decided to host it for us. Well, as we found out, we cannot drink homebrew at our local brewery because ABC (infuriatingly) says that if it is not made there it cannot be drank there.

So, short of getting a $55 banquet license every month, we do not know what we can and cannot do in order to start our homebrew club. I am trying to find out where some of you meet for your Virginia homebrew clubs, and what solutions you have come up with regarding this very annoying and money-grabbing issue?

Any advice about starting a homebrew club as well is also absolutely appreciated!

Cheers and happy brewing!

Alkthough I do not live in VA, we have had the same type of problem here in Ohio.  Technically, you can not bring homebrewed beer into a brewery to serve because of our liquor laws.  It is an untaxed alcoholic beverage and in Ohio it is currently considered a violation the "open container" provisions of the liquor law.  This might be the same in VA but without checking I can't be totally sure.  Other clubs in your state might be able to provide some insight on this.  There is a listing of homebrew clubs by state on the "community" link on the AHA website that you can search to contact other clubs in VA.

One of the clubs I belong to had to change our meeting location for the above reason.  We found a church that would allow us to meet in their basement room once a month and it has worked out just fine.  You might want to try that route.

Regarding tips on starting a homebrew club,  search the AHA website for seminars on homebrew clubs.  All of the seminars from Homebrew Con are recorded and available for viewing to members of the AHA  If I remember correctly, there have been several presentations over the past few years on this topic.

One thing that I might add when starting a club.  One of my clubs, of which I am a charter member, has no formal officers.  We just get together to share, discuss, and critique our beers.  It is geared more along the lines of an educational experience rather than a formal meeting.  We had one cardinal rule when we started the club. "if you want to be a member, you have to brew."  We had to reiterate this rule only once when things started to get a bit out of hand.  Everyone in that club has become a better brewer which was the whole idea of starting the club.
Goose Steingass
Wooster, OH
Society of Akron Area Zymurgists (SAAZ)
Wayne County Brew Club
Mansfield Brew Club
BJCP Certified
AHA Governing Committee Member

Offline wmbolling

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Re: Question about starting a Hombrew Club in VA
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2018, 02:07:04 PM »
This topic came up a few years ago, and there were some great suggestions on this thread:

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1078.0

Some highlighted suggestions were:

Partner with other local community-involved groups (American Legion posts/Elks lodges, etc)
Meet at a club member's (non-brewery/restaurant) private business after hours (car dealerships, etc)
Homebrew club member's residence
Farms (yes - one club meets in a barn, and it looks awesome)
Matt Bolling
AHA Events & Membership Coordinator
matt@brewersassociation.org

Offline dls5492

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Re: Question about starting a Hombrew Club in VA
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2018, 02:17:25 PM »
We have different people in our club host the meeting in their home. In the summer months, we will be in a garage and/or the porch, etc. In the winter months, we will be in the basement. Sometimes we have it in a shelter at a local park. Last month, we had it at a local hop farm.
Even though we are not a 501C, we are still eligible for the insurance that is offered thru AHA. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT. It is $3.75 per person per year. I don't want to use it. But, I sleep better at night.
Hope this helps.
David S.
Cedar Falls, IA
Club: Cedar River Association of Zymurgy Enthusiasts (CRAZE)

And the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. II Cor. 3:17

Offline reuman

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Re: Question about starting a Hombrew Club in VA
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2018, 04:04:23 PM »
Hi all! I have been looking everywhere for an answer and do not really have an idea where to find some concrete information on this topic.

We tried to start our homebrew club a few months ago and our local brewery graciously decided to host it for us. Well, as we found out, we cannot drink homebrew at our local brewery because ABC (infuriatingly) says that if it is not made there it cannot be drank there.

So, short of getting a $55 banquet license every month, we do not know what we can and cannot do in order to start our homebrew club. I am trying to find out where some of you meet for your Virginia homebrew clubs, and what solutions you have come up with regarding this very annoying and money-grabbing issue?

Any advice about starting a homebrew club as well is also absolutely appreciated!

Cheers and happy brewing!

Let me guess, you may or may not be in the NoVA area????   ;D

So we meet at a local VFW (frankly we have the same ABC problem with running our local BJCP comp, don't get me started on that). In exchange for our meeting space, we purchase a large amount of beer from the club which makes them a lot of $$$, we also do a fundraiser for them and have encouraged many of our members to join when we find out they are eligible. We do collect dues for our club and have money saved just in case we have to start paying (room, ABC etc..).

Brian
GRiST

Offline johnny_mo

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Re: Question about starting a Hombrew Club in VA
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2018, 06:04:47 PM »
Hey Sam,
The AHA worked with the VA Craft Brewers Guild and ABC to get some clarification on what you can and cannot do in VA. I can't speak on what other clubs do for meetings and such.
For brewery properties, you're correct about the ABC Banquet License requirement. The brewery must also close its retail licensed space (tasting room) during the event or hold the event in a separate licensed space. Homebrew is allowed with the banquet license but cannot be refrigerated in any TTB bonded space (e.g. should be placed in stand alone coolers) .
This has been worked out with Senior Agent Marc Haalman, the statewide compliance administrator.
To change these rules would require legislative action.

Offline nealf

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Re: Question about starting a Hombrew Club in VA
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2018, 03:15:20 PM »
We've had the same issue down here in southwestern Virginia. What we have been able to do that seems to be ok with ABC are meetings at brewpubs or restaurants that also sell beer that isn't their own. The trick seems to be they have to hold a retail license. The relevant Code is 4.1-200 6 iii b, https://vacode.org/4.1-200/:

[Homebrewer may serve their beer off residence to the public, not to exceed]...
Quote
(b) two ounces of beer by volume for on-premises consumption at events organized for judging or exhibiting such wine or beer, including events held on the premises of a retail licensee.

Presumably a homebrew club meeting constitutes exhibition of beer. I'm not a lawyer and haven't talked to ABC directly, but that seemed to be what these places got ABC permission to allow. Perhaps johnny_mo has insight on whether anything outside of breweries was discussed with the ABC agent.

Pours would need to be kept small, so we typically are buying full beers from the establishment, which also helps us thank them for use of their space. You also want to be careful with appearance so that the general public doesn't think that there is just some BYOB policy, so a sign or something can be helpful if you aren't in an isolated room/area or meeting during closed business hours.

Since that conversation was had with ABC and does require legislative action, does anyone know if there is (going to be) a coordinated effort to have that legislation put in place? Or anyone have suggestions for next best steps we can do individually? Thanks!