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Legal Effort Overview PDF Print E-mail
WAHA Projects - Legal Efforts
Written by Mark Emiley   
Sunday, 11 January 2009 11:54

  Fight for the Right to Share Homemade Beer and Wine!

Help Change Washington's Homemade Beer and Wine Laws by Passing Senate Bill 5060!

What are the Current Laws Regarding Homemade Beer and Wine?

National regulations allow home production of 100 gallons of beer or wine per calendar year per adult* or up to 200 gallons per household with 2 or more adults provided that it is not sold.

States are allowed to further regulate the production and transportation of homemade beer and wine.

Washington State provides an exemption for homemade beer and wine in RCW 66.12.010 allowing production without a license or permit.  This makes home brewing and wine making legal in Washington!

HOWEVER, Washington State regulations (RCW 66.28.140) prohibit transportation or sharing of homemade beer & wine outside of the house of production and limit the transfer to only competitions or exhibitions.  At these events, only "judges" can sample the products.  The largest volume that may be transported is 1 gallon.

* An adult is defined as an individual who has attained the minimum age established by law at which alcohol may be sold to individuals (Washington: 21).  Minors may not produce homemade beer or wine.

Why do the Laws Need to Be Changed?

The current regulations make most homemade beer and wine events practiced in the rest of the United States illegal.  Simple things like "non-competitive" tastings at a club meeting or taking a bottle of beer or wine to a neighbor's house are essentially illegal.  This hinders the progression of the homemade beer and wine communities in Washington and impedes the development of the future members of our craft beer and wine industries.

Current Regulations:

  • Do not allow sharing of homemade beer or wine outside of the house of production
  • Do not promote the evolution of today's Washington home beer and wine makers into tomorrow's craft brewers and vintners
  • Prevent Washington from opportunities to host tourism events such as the National Homebrewers Conference
  • Do not promote collaborative homemade beer or wine evaluation and improvement
  • Do not consistently apply to beer and wine events and hinder practical transportation of homemade beer or wine, rendering the code impossible to meaningfully enforce & extremely difficult to confidently comply with

What Will Changing the Laws Do?

The current regulations make most homemade beer and wine events practiced in the rest of the United States illegal. 

Proposed changes to the regulations would allow for homemade beer and wine to be removed from the house of production to be used for private consumption or use in community events such as tastings, club meetings, conferences, and competitions. 

The Washington Homebrewers Association (WAHA) is leading the fight to change the laws to encourage the development of Washington's homemade beer and wine culture.  We are encouraging people to contact their legislators asking for support of support Senate Bill 5060 which will:

  • Allow enjoyment of homemade beer and wine as a savored and respected component of Washington culture
  • Create an environment fostering community-based improvement for the future leaders of Washington's tax-generating craft beer and wine industries
  • Allow grass-roots community involvement in home and craft production movements
  • Allow for clear application with consistent and practical regulation wording

How do I get involved?  

To be a part of the effort, go to:

www.wahomebrewers.org/legal

You simply need to send an e-mail and/or make a phone call to your three legislators asking for their support of Senate Bill 5060.  Let them know about your experiences with homemade beer and wine and why you think helping our community will be good for Washington (beer and wine making state image, future tax generators, responsible consumers, tourism opportunities, etc.).

Tell all of your Washington family and friends who enjoy homemade beer and wine about our effort and ask for their help too!  More legislative contacts will increase our chances of passing the bill!

Thanks for your support of Washington's home brewers and winemakers!

www.wahomebrewers.org/legal

Additional Information

Useful Links

Washington State Legislature

http://leg.wa.gov/legislature

Find your Legislator

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx

Washington State Liquor Regulations

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=66

Washington Homebrewers Association

American Homebrewers Association

http://beertown.org/homebrewing

To find out more about homebrewing, visit the Washington Homebrewers Association website:

On this site you can find valuable information on learning about homebrewing, locating local homebrewers, clubs and stores, becoming a beer judge, improving our state's homebrewing laws, and finding what else is going on in Washington homebrew.  Take a second to get registered on the site, browse through the resources, post in the forum, and become a part of Washington's homebrewing culture!

Last Updated on Monday, 12 January 2009 16:35
 
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