Status: Permitted, subject to age restriction and amount (gallonage).
California state statute § 23356.2 allows the manufacture of beer for personal or family use, and not for sale by a person over the age of 21. The aggregate amount of beer with respect to any household shall not exceed 200 gallons or 100 gallons if only one adult resides in such household.
California represents one of the most comprehensive state statutes. §23356.2 also provides for the removal of beer manufactured in the home for use in competitions, tastings, or judgings. The statute allows for donation of homebrew to non-profit organizations for use in fundraising events and to homebrewer non-profit organizations for educational events.
The California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control issued an FAQ on sales of homemade beer or wine by non-profit organizations to clarify the law. The FAQ also issues ABC statements on homemade beer and wine on licensed premises and beer and wine-making demonstrations at homebrew supply shops:
Business and Professions Code section 25607 prohibits licensees and any other person from having upon licensed premises any alcoholic beverages other than those which may be sold at the licensed premises pursuant to the license issued. Since homemade beer and wine may not be sold by permanent licensees, such beer or wine may not be possessed on licensed premises. This prohibition applies whether the license is a manufacturing license (such as beer manufacturer or winegrower) or a retail license (such as a bar or restaurant).
The law provides that beer or wine may only be produced without a license in a “household” for “personal or family” use. Beer or wine produced at a “home brew” supply store or any other similar location for any purpose, including demonstration, would not comply with this provision.
State Alcohol Beverage Control Agency
- 3927 Lennane Drive, Suite 100
- Sacramento, CA 95834
- Phone: 916.419.2500
Applicable Statutory Material
§ 23006. Beer
23006. “Beer” means any alcoholic beverage obtained by the fermentation of any infusion or decoction of barley, malt, hops, or any other similar product, or any combination thereof in water, and includes ale, porter, brown, stout, lager beer, small beer, and strong beer, but does not include sake, known as Japanese rice wine. Beer aged in an empty wooden barrel previously used to contain wine or distilled spirits shall be defined exclusively as “beer” and shall not be considered a dilution or mixture of any other alcoholic beverage.
§ 23006. Beer
“Wine” means the product obtained from normal alcoholic fermentation of the juice of sound ripe grapes or other agricultural products containing natural or added sugar or any such alcoholic beverage to which is added grape brandy, fruit brandy, or spirits of wine, which is distilled from the particular agricultural product or products of which the wine is made and other rectified wine products and by whatever name and which does not contain more than 15 percent added flavoring, coloring, and blending material and which contains not more than 24 percent of alcohol by volume, and includes vermouth and sake, known as Japanese rice wine.
Nothing contained in this section affects or limits the power, authority, or duty of the State Department of Health Services in the enforcement of the laws directed toward preventing the manufacture, production, sale, or transportation of adulterated, misbranded, or mislabeled alcoholic beverages, and the definition of “wine” contained in this section is limited strictly to the purposes of this division and does not extend to, or repeal by implication, any law preventing the production, manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated, misbranded, or mislabeled alcoholic beverages.
§ 23356.2. Beer; manufacture for personal or family use; exemption
(a) No license or permit shall be required for the manufacture of beer or wine for personal or family use, and not for sale, by a person over 21 years of age. The aggregate amount of beer or wine with respect to any household shall not exceed (1) 100 gallons per calendar year if there is only one adult in the household or (2) 200 gallons per calendar year if there are two or more adults in the household.
(b) Beer or wine produced pursuant to this section may be removed from the premises where made only under any of the following circumstances:
(1) For use, including in a bona fide competition or judging or a bona fide exhibition or tasting.
(2) For personal or family use.
(3) When donated to a nonprofit organization for use as provided in subdivision (c) or (d).
(4) Beer or wine produced pursuant to this section may only be provided or served to the public pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (3) within a clearly identified area, that includes, but is not limited to, a physical barrier with a monitored point of entry. Beer or wine produced by a beer manufacturer or winegrower as defined in Sections 23012 and 23013, respectively, and licensed by the department, shall not be provided or served to the public within this area.
(c) (1) Beer or wine produced pursuant to this section may be donated to a nonprofit organization for sale at fundraising events conducted solely by and for the benefit of the nonprofit organization. Beer and wine donated pursuant to this subdivision may be sold by the nonprofit organization only for consumption on the premises of the fundraising event, under a license issued by the department to the nonprofit organization pursuant to this division.
(2) Beer or wine donated and sold pursuant to this subdivision shall bear a label identifying its producer and stating that the beer or wine is homemade and not available for sale or for consumption off the licensed premises. The beer or wine is not required to comply with other labeling requirements under this division. However, nothing in this paragraph authorizes the use of any false or misleading information on a beer or wine label.
(3) A nonprofit organization established for the purpose of promoting home production of beer or wine, or whose membership is composed primarily of home brewers or home winemakers, shall not be eligible to sell beer pursuant to this subdivision.
(d) A nonprofit organization established for the purpose of promoting home production of beer shall be eligible to serve beer at a fundraising event conducted solely for the benefit of the nonprofit organization pursuant to this subdivision, subject to the following conditions:
(1) The beer that is served is donated by home brewers.
(2) The nonprofit organization shall be issued no more than two permits per calendar year for the serving of beer pursuant to this subdivision.
(3) The nonprofit organization shall display a printed notice at the event that states that home brewed beer is not a regulated product subject to health and safety standards.
(4) The event shall have an educational component that includes instruction on the subject of beer, including, but not limited to, the history, nature, values, and characteristics of beer, the use of beer lists, and the methods of presenting and serving beer.
(5) Only bona fide members of the nonprofit organization may attend the event.
(6) The nonprofit organization shall not solicit or sign up individuals to be members of the nonprofit organization on the day of the event at the event premises.
(7) The nonprofit organization shall provide the department with the number of members that have registered for the event and the estimated number that will be in attendance, 48 hours before the event. This paragraph shall apply only if more than 50 members are expected to be in attendance at the event.
(e) Except as provided in subdivision (c), this section does not authorize the sale or offering for sale by any person of any beer or wine produced pursuant to this section.
(f) Except as provided herein, nothing in this section authorizes any activity in violation of Section 23300, 23355, or 23399.1.
Note: The information presented here is to the best of our knowledge and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice specific to the laws of your state.