May 8, 2019
In April, homebrewers in Arkansas successfully lobbied their state legislature to pass new homebrew legislation that amends the definition of homebrewed beer and authorizes a homebrewer to remove homebrewed beer from their household for personal or family use, including organized affairs, exhibitions, competitions, and tastings. Representative Deborah Ferguson (Dist. 51) was lead sponsor of the bill and Kent Thompson, vice president of competitions for the Central Arkansas Fermenters (CAF) homebrew club, was the key homebrewer on introducing the bill.
House Bill 1877 cleared the Arkansas House and Senate on April 5, 2019. After five days sitting on the governor’s desk, the new legislation became law on April 10, 2019, as Act 861.
The new legislation redefines homebrew in Section 1 of Arkansas Code 3.5.202(5)(a) as “Home-brewed beer” meaning beer, ale, porter, stout, and other similar fermented beverages containing one-half of one percent (0.5%) or more of alcohol by volume brewed or produced from malt, wholly or in part, or from a substitute for malt, for consumption but not for sale. The previous definition capped alcohol at 5% by volume.
Section 2 of Arkansas Code 3.5.205(f)(1) was amended to add an additional subdivision allowing for the removal of homebrewed beer from the manufacturer’s premises (household) for personal or family use. Such use includes, but is not limited to, organized affairs, exhibitions, competitions, and tastings. Previously, a homebrewer removing homebrew from their home was not permissible under Arkansas Alcohol Beverage Control.
You can find more information about the bill on the Arkansas State Legislative website.
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John Moorhead is director of the National Homebrew Competition, AHA competition coordinator, and lead AHA staffer for government affairs.