Author Topic: Serving homebrew at beer events  (Read 5706 times)

Offline abbddull

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Serving homebrew at beer events
« on: September 27, 2011, 12:25:52 PM »
Hey now,
I'm the President of the Michiana Extract & Grain Association, a NW. Indiana/SW Michigan 501c-7 homebrew club.
For over a year our club (affectionately referred to as MEGA) has been participating in public beer events. At some events we only have an information booth staffed with folks prepared to spread the joys of homebrewing, but at most we are also pouring member-brewed beer. This has been a blasty-blast... who doesn't love to feel like a beer rockstar?! I think it is an invaluable way to give the public a chance to actually sample some homebrew in addition to being educated about it.

Recently, upon inquiring about MEGA's participation in the 2012 Indy Microbrewer's Winterfest (a festival we served member-brewed beer at earlier this year) we were told that we were no longer allowed to serve our homebrew. Apparently, the serving of homebrew at this years Winterfest was frowned on by IN Excise Police since it is a "paid attendance beer festival". This information was confirmed with our local IN Excise Police office.

Needless-to-say this really bummed us out.

We really have a great time helping at events like these, and would love to continue to keep letting the public sample our creations. We don't ask anything in return for our beer or time. I'm not sure why we have been allowed to pour at so many events if this is an Excise Law violation.

Are any other clubs pouring beer at events? Surely, we are not alone.
I'm really interested to hear how you work it out to be within legal bounds.

Thanks,
-Andy


Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Serving homebrew at beer events
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2011, 01:11:32 PM »
The short answer is the event coordinator is unaware they are breaking the law.  As word gets around you opportunities will go away.

Laws are different in every state/country.  The idea of someone giving away home crafted alcohol is still a novel concept in many locales.  Home brewers need to be careful and know their local laws around this type of thing.  I know its fun and entertaining to teach people about home brewing with good beer samples but I wouldn't push it here in Iowa, fines and/or jail time doesn't seem that appealing.

Paul
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Offline johnf

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Re: Serving homebrew at beer events
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2011, 01:48:51 PM »
I'm not sure why we have been allowed to pour at so many events if this is an Excise Law violation.

Are any other clubs pouring beer at events? Surely, we are not alone.
I'm really interested to hear how you work it out to be within legal bounds.


You have not been allowed so much as you didn't ask permission and weren't actively disallowed.

Laws vary by state so the experience of others may or may not benefit you.

Both homebrewers and commercial brewers that do not distribute to Nebraska can not serve beer at a beer event per the law. This year, Paul and Kim Kavulak, who own Nebraska Brewing Company and organize the Great Nebraska Beer Festival, figured out that that they could ask for one time exemptions to the law. This may be your best route. The police likely can't grant an exemption (if it is possible) so the trick is figuring out who can.

Offline denny

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Re: Serving homebrew at beer events
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2011, 02:48:54 PM »
In our state, we just got the laws relating to homebrew changed to allow this.  But IIRC, MI is just now working on the same kind of changes, although I don't know if they're going to include pouring at public events.  Try contacting Fred Bonjour or Crispy Frey to see what's going on in MI.
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Offline Crispy275

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Re: Serving homebrew at beer events
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2011, 06:37:14 PM »
MI HB 4061 will not allow for the serving of homebrew to non-homebrewers. If passed, it will allow licensed establishments within Michigan to invite homebrew clubs to have meeting, compitions and do brew demos at their facilities. However, it will still be illegal to serve homebrew to non-members at these events.

It passed through the House Regulatory Reform sub-committe, the House, the Senate Regulatory Reforem sub-committe, and when it got to the Senate floor, the Michigan LCC asked that it be withdrawn as they had objections. Without going into the details, behind the scene activity by my friend, homebrewing partner and bill sponsor, House Representative Doug Geiss, along with the House Majority Leader and the LCC is occuring, and we hope to see it back for a vote shortly.

I agree with the other cooments as far as the organizers just knowing the rules.
Chris P. Frey, aka "Crispy"
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
Fermental Order of Renaissance Draughtsmen
AHA Governing Committee (2004 - present, Past Chairman 2009-2012)
Brewers Association Board of Directors (2010 - present)
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Serving homebrew at beer events
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2011, 09:57:20 AM »
I am fairly surprized that you have been able to do this without trouble so far. My club did a similar thing, but it was an event with tokens for samples and we did not accept tokens. I'm sure this was still walking at the edge of the law though.
Jimmy K

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Offline smkranz

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Re: Serving homebrew at beer events
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2011, 09:20:30 AM »
In Maryland, at the request of the event organizer, our club runs a homebrewing demonstration, information tent, and homebrew competition, at the annual Maryland Microbrewery Festival.  Patrons receive a few beer tokens with their entry fee, and they can buy as many more as they want.  We have never poured homebrew at this event (or even brought it onto the premises, except for the competition entries which are judged).  The county Liquor Control Board issues the event license to the organizer.  We were told by the organizer that the County doesn't want us pouring beer for tokens because we are not a commercial brewery who has paid to be part of the festival; and they don't want us pouring unregulated and untaxed beer without tokens because...well...that would be giving away free unregulated and untaxed beer at a licensed public event which would make their heads explode.  Plus, I could see some of the commercial brewers objecting if our free (but also excellent) beers pulled patrons away from the micros who are there trying to make a buck.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2011, 09:22:48 PM by smkranz »
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Offline bobw

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Re: Serving homebrew at beer events
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2011, 10:58:11 AM »
Our club Hellgate Homebrewers in Grants Pass Oregon just precipitated in a local City Event, called Tap Walk.A limited number of tickets were sold and folks walked to several bars and restaurants were they would get a small pour of different beers. Our club was invited to be a stop on the Tap Walk. Last year we did a brew demo and poured a beer brewed from a member's recipe that was done by Wild River Brewing. So this year with all the law changes we decided that we should pour our Homebrew and no demo. There was some discussion among the officers of the club about legality of doing this. So a letter was sent to OLCC explaining what we wanted to do and if it was legal. There response was "you can serve homebrewed beer but you can not receive any money or compensation (tickets that were sold for tastings) of any kind for the beer". So we gave away our beer.
What I'm saying is you never know until you ask the right people. So all you Oregon clubs, it is OK to serve homebrew at events you just cant sell it. I still think it would be a good idea to get it in writing though.
I hope this helps some others clubs.

Bob
Hellgate Homebrewers
Grants Pass, OR

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Serving homebrew at beer events
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2011, 11:28:43 AM »
Bob - I'm both surprised and happy that you got a positive response like that in writing. It should be that easy everywhere.
Jimmy K

Delmarva United Homebrewers - President by inverse coup when the old president ousted himself.
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Offline skyler

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Re: Serving homebrew at beer events
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2011, 09:28:00 AM »
My club poured at a beer festival in Sacramento. We were told we had to bring different cups for our beers to be poured into in order for it to be legal in California. We were told we didn't have to do this for another event we went to because it was a charity event.