On November 1, the American Homebrewers Association and its parent organization, the Brewers Association, hosted a day of homebrewing in our nation’s capital. The annual Homebrew on the Hill event generates interest in homebrewing to raise awareness and understanding around the politics and process of homebrewing.
Members of Congress and their staffers were invited to help homebrew a batch of beer and were encouraged to sign up for the Capitol Hill Staff Homebrew Competition. With the help of the DC Homebrewers Club, GRiST Homebrew Club, and BURP Homebrew Club, the event featured a step-by-step walk through of the brewing process that included demonstrations on mash and wort tasting, hop sensory analysis, yeast pitching, bottle filling, and ingredient sampling.
The event also helps strengthen our Small Brewers Caucuses in the House and Senate. The Brewers Caucuses provide a forum for members of Congress and their staffs to discuss the issues important to small, professional brewers while exploring what lawmakers can do to strengthen the growth and role of these small businesses in local economies across the country.
Hosting congressional staffers for a homebrewing event is an opportunity to discuss the critical role of homebrewing in the small and independent craft brewing industry.
Look out for more homebrew news from Washington, D.C., this December to find out who the best homebrewers on Capitol Hill are.
Fighting for Homebrewers’ Rights
The American Homebrewers Association and Brewers Association launched the Capitol Hill Staff Homebrew Competition in 2016 to help promote the American pastime of homebrewing. The competition highlights the symbiotic relationship between small and independent craft brewers and the hobby-brewing culture.
Since its inception, the Capitol Hill Staff Homebrew Competition has raised awareness of the antiquated legal issues homebrewers face in states across the country.
While homebrewing is legal in all 50 states and has been federally legal in the US since 1979, draconian state alcohol codes dating back to Prohibition still restrict homebrewers.
For example, it is not legal in some states for homebrewers to transport their homemade beer out of their homes. In other states, licensed facilities like breweries are not allowed to possess and/or store homebrew. Such restrictions can make it difficult for homebrewing communities and homebrew clubs to thrive.
By showcasing the welcoming, responsible, innovative community of homebrewers, we hope to keep homebrewing and the AHA top of mind for our nation’s decision makers and encourage them to lead the way to positive legislative changes in the future.
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American Homebrewers Association competition coordinator John Moorhead is director of the National Homebrew Competition, coordinates the Great American Beer Festival® Pro-Am Competition and the Capitol Hill Staff Homebrew Competition, assists with homebrew legislative efforts, and writes for HomebrewersAssociation.org.