Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Homebrew on Tap Again in Oregon

Posted By on Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Homebrewers rejoice. It’s officially safe to share your beer, again. That’s right no more clandestine tastings, passwords and secret handshakes at your homebrew club meetings. The Oregon legislature has passed a law making it legal for homebrewers to share their beers outside of their basements and garages – a privilege that they had long enjoyed until a recent opinion from Oregon A.G. John Kroger’s office effectively shut down the homebrew tastings, including club meetings and competitions, most notably the Oregon State Fair’s amateur beer competition last year.

The legislature took up the issue early in the current session and announced this morning that they had passed SB 444, clarifying a Probation-era rule that had thrown the homebrew community into limbo.

While not a huge industry in Oregon, or perhaps anywhere else for that matter, homebrewing offers a proving ground for entrepreneurs who sometime use their experience and recipes to springboard into commercial brewing, perhaps the most obvious example being James Cook, the Harvard MBA, who used his homebrew recipe to start the nation’s largest craft brewery, Samuel Adams.

“This bill stops in its tracks a misguided legal opinion that shut down competitions at fairs all over Oregon. This legislation ensures that home brewers can share their products and that the growing craft beer industry gets a boost. The return of these competitions at local county fairs is welcome news for home brewers and their fans,” said State Rep. Mike Schaufler (D-Happy Valley) in a press release Wednesday morning.

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