Author Topic: North Carolina ABC Rules for Homebrewing  (Read 282 times)

Offline MDixon

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North Carolina ABC Rules for Homebrewing
« on: October 11, 2018, 12:55:58 PM »
Yesterday concerned homebrewers from across North Carolina converged on the ABC Commission meeting to discuss the pending rules implementation. 12 homebrewers spoke including myself with all providing excellent comments to the board and those present. My fear is they listened, but we were not heard. Their chief council has left a village in need of a particular kind of person and he is interpreting statute law in ways which it is not written. As far as I can tell anyone can comment on the rules to him provided they do so by November 5. I would ask if you do review the rules and respond to be respectful in your comments.

Here are the rules as proposed:
https://portal.abc.nc.gov//Lists/Public%20Web%20Announcements/Attachments/184/14B%20NCAC%2015A%20.2301%20-%20Notice%20of%20Text%20with%20proposed%20rules.pdf

You can respond here:
 Walker Reagan
Rulemaking Coordinator
Legal Division
NC Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission

Phone: (919) 779-8367
Email: walker.reagan@abc.nc.gov

https://abc.nc.gov/PublicResources/Announcement/184


Here are a list of bullet point compiled by David Byer of Asheville:
 Bullet Points
.2301 Homemade Wine and Malt Beverage Events (Definitions) (p. 3-4 of 11)
.2301(7)
Issue:
Section .2301(7) says a person is only a “guest” (who can drink your homebrew) if they were invited by particular means such as in person or by email (not a general Facebook post). The provision now has “including” so it is no longer as narrow a scope as an earlier version and is instead just giving examples of types of “direct contact.” This is a helpful improvement. However, who a “guest” is should not be limited and defined by the means of invitation.

Point:
.2301(7). A “guest” should be defined as a person you know not by the means by which you contact them.

.2301(10)(b)
Issue:
Section .2301(10)(b) requires homebrew clubs to charge a fee.

Point:
.2301(10)(b). A homebrew club doesn’t need to charge fees to have a defined membership and prevent the general public from showing up and drinking.

.2302(a) & .2302(c)(3)
Issue:
Sections .2302(a) and (.2303(c)(3) say that consumption at a homebrew competition is limited to judges.

Point:
.2302(a) and .2302(c)(3) limit consumption to judges but should be expanded to include competition staff. It is common for stewards to occasionally try samples of beers so that they can learn from the judges and perhaps work up to become judges themselves in the future. In addition, other competition staff occasionally try samples of beers, for example if a dispute has to be resolved, such as whether a beer was miscategorized.

.2302(b)(1)
Issue:
Section .2302(b)(1) requires that a competition at a retail ABC permit location (e.g., taproom, bar, etc.) be behind closed doors.

Point:
.2302(b)(1) requires that a competition at a retail ABC permit location be behind closed doors. Why can’t it just be sectioned off?

.2302(b)(4)
Issue:
Section .2302(b)(4) requires that a competition at a retail ABC permit location (e.g., taproom or restaurant) cannot have the homebrew on site for more than 48 hours before the competition. The ABC is worried that in retail settings there is an increased risk that the stored homebrew will be served to the public (and thus the shorter 48 hours for retail ABC permit locations as opposed to the 30 day period for commercial ABC permit locations (e.g., in the back of a brewery)).

Point:
.2302(b)(4) should be extended from 48 hours to 60 days. This will reflect common, safe operating practices of existing homebrew competitions, which is what the legislature was working to support when passing the new law.

.2302(c)(1)
Issue:
Section .2302(c)(1) says that a competition at a commercial ABC permit location (e.g., the back of a brewery (not the taproom)) can only be in the non-production areas (e.g., storage, shipping areas, or administrative areas). The ABC has said: “The intent here is to attempt to limit or elimination the possibility of homemade product on the commercial premises contaminating the commercial product.”

Point:
.2302(c)(1) should not restrict a competition to non-production areas. There is no realistic risk of homebrew at a competition contaminating commercial product. Such a concern is unfounded and seems to reflect a misunderstanding of how competitions and/or breweries are set up and operate.

.2302(c)(4)
Issue:
Section .2302(c)(4) says that homebrew can only be stored for 30 days on site prior to a competition at a commercial ABC permit location.

Point:
.2302(c)(4) should extend the storage period from 30 days to 60 days to reflect the common and safe practices demonstrated in this state and across the country.

.2304(b)
Issue:
Section .2304(b) says that you cannot award prizes if you have an internal club competition. The ABC has said: “we are concerned with the issue of compensation being giving in exchange for consumption of homemade product.”

Point:
.2304(b) should allow for prizes if restrictions are put in place to prevent compensation in exchange for consumption of homebrew. For example, it could be required that not everyone wins a prize in a club contest. In addition, it could be required that the prize not be purchased directly by those in attendance at that event (instead it could be purchased from general club funds or a donation).

.2304(c)(1)
Issue:
Section .2304(c)(1) says that an organized affair (e.g., homebrew club meeting) at a retail ABC permit location (e.g., a taproom or restaurant) must be separated from areas the general public are in by “vertical boundaries.” The ABC has said options like police tape count as vertical boundaries.

Point:
.2304(c)(1) should eliminate “vertical” from “vertical boundaries” to eliminate confusion. The ABC has clarified that boundaries such as police tape count as a vertical boundary, but there has been confusion among homebrewers about this language, and the same could happen for law enforcement. More than one person have interpreted this as walls or doors.

.2304(d)
Issue:
Section .2304(d) says an organized affair (e.g., homebrew club meeting) cannot be held at a commercial ABC permit location (e.g., the production area of a brewery). (FYI, the ABC has said: “If a brewery also has a retail side, then organized affairs can be held on the retail side, but not the commercial side.”)

Point:
.2304(d) says an organized affair cannot be held at a commercial ABC permit location (e.g., the production area of a brewery). Why?

.2305
Issue:
Section .2305 says that you have to be a dues paying member of a state, regional, national, or international homebrew group to attend a homebrew education meeting (I assume things like HomeBrew Con and the Asheville Homebrewers Conference would be homebrew education meetings).

Point:
.2305 should not be restricted to state or higher level homebrew groups. Most homebrew groups are local and that should be specifically included. In addition, as noted for section .2301(10)(b), homebrew clubs shouldn’t be required to charge a fee since there are other mechanisms that can address the ABC’s concerns.

.2306(c)
Issue:
Section .2306(c) says only you can deliver your own homebrew to an event. It will be illegal to transport someone else’s homebrew. The ABC feels that the statute that the legislature passed creates this restriction and thus there is nothing they can do about it. I disagree.

Point:
.2306(c) should not prohibit others for transporting your homebrew. This will eliminate competition pick ups at drop off sites. The legislature wrote § 18B-306(a) to allow for “an individual [to] .. transport .. malt beverages for the the use at organized affairs, exhibitions, or competitions." The language doesn't restrict who can transport homebrew, but rather the purposes for which homebrew can be transported.

.2306(d)
Issue:
Section .2306(d) says you can only transport up to 80 liters (~21 gallons) at one time.

Point:
.2306(d) is burdensome and without basis. Homebrewers transport more than this, for example when bringing kegs to an event or barrel filling project.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: North Carolina ABC Rules for Homebrewing
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2018, 01:47:00 PM »
Though I did not see a notice on the ‘Recent Alerts’ page of the website, as advocates for homebrewers’ rights in the United States, I would hope the American Homebrew Association is taking notice and has a plan to assist this homebrewing community organize an effective grassroots campaign.  If not already engaged, I recommend contacting John Moorhead, AHA Competition Organizer 303.447.0816 x 117 | Toll Free: 888.822.6273 x 117 email: john@brewersassociation.org for assistance.


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Offline MDixon

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Re: North Carolina ABC Rules for Homebrewing
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2018, 01:59:48 PM »
He and Gary are engaged. I think the more noise the ABC Commission hears the better. They barely received any comments prior to scheduling the public hearing and as a result the rules did not include changes which were suggested which met statute law and did not overly restrict homebrewing activities. This time, prior to Nov. 5, we need to make our voices heard loud and clear.

There is one additional hail mary option to push particular rules to the legislature for review, but I would prefer the rules to be as close as possible to acceptable prior to them being enacted so we have only a few items for legislative review.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: North Carolina ABC Rules for Homebrewing
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2018, 03:53:13 PM »
What is the impetus for these changes?
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Offline denny

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Re: North Carolina ABC Rules for Homebrewing
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2018, 04:50:55 PM »
If you do not live in NC, it's not a good idea to respond.  I'm past efforts,  legislators felt harassed when the7 were contacted by people who didn't live in the state.  We don't want to make this any harder.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: North Carolina ABC Rules for Homebrewing
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2018, 07:56:31 PM »
He and Gary are engaged.

Outstanding!  Glad to hear the AHA is on it!


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Offline dbeechum

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Re: North Carolina ABC Rules for Homebrewing
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2018, 09:52:17 PM »
What is the impetus for these changes?

Usage clarifications. This is the next round of the fight. Homebrew is legal, but a lot of state ABC's have concerns we do things well out of the bounds of the law's presumed usages. They're really mostly concerned with people either playing at being a commercial brewery (say at a fest) or untaxed/unregulated homebrew being served to regular joe consumers.
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Offline MDixon

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Re: North Carolina ABC Rules for Homebrewing
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2018, 01:05:36 PM »
If you do not live in NC, it's not a good idea to respond.  I'm past efforts,  legislators felt harassed when the7 were contacted by people who didn't live in the state.  We don't want to make this any harder.

These are not legislators. These are ABC lawyers. There is no need to disclose whether or not you live in NC IMO. Just to be courteous.

I would not put it out on the forum if I did not think it was going to be useful.
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Offline tommymorris

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Re: North Carolina ABC Rules for Homebrewing
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2018, 01:42:07 PM »
Another thing you can do is have the legislator who sponsored the homebrew bill call the ABC and guide them on how to enforce the law. He/she can talk to the ABC about the law’s intent.

Offline MDixon

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Re: North Carolina ABC Rules for Homebrewing
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2018, 02:18:31 PM »
The ABC lawyer is more than slightly incompetent IMO. The laws affect both homebrew and wine and they did not consult any home winemakers or amateur wine competitions. I do not believe they would listen to the lawmakers unless they knew them personally.

My gut tells me we will be successful on some fronts as they are no doubt aware we will pursue the legislative rules nuclear option if the items left in are too distasteful. We will then have to find legislators who are willing to tweak the homebrew statute to our favor. I believe if we can keep specific verbiage out of the rules, for instance transport, then we can continue to do business as usual. No court would ever convict my wife or guest of illegally transporting my homebrew based on the statute. If it is in the ABC rules than some ALE douchebag might be able to write me a citation and a fine for breaking the rules. No police officer will enforce anything other than the Statues and they will be oblivious to any rules.

In the end the rules should ONLY be applicable to activities held on the property of retail and commercial permittees. Otherwise the ABC cannot write rules applicable to homebrew activities even though they think they can. The statute is clear, no permit is required.
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