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Old 09-24-2009, 11:52 AM   #1
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Default Home Brewing Demonstration

I've been asked to do a home brewing demonstration at my town's Oktoberfest celebration and I was wondering if anyone else has done one and if there are any legal issues with it. Technically it's not really beer until it ferments but you're not allowed to buy homebrew supplies until you're 21. The Oktoberfest beer tent it set up in a public parking lot and I was going to do the demonstration in the tent. Does anyone have any experience with his issue and are there any legal reasons why I couldn't do a demonstration in public? Thanks.

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Old 09-24-2009, 12:18 PM   #2
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I think that it's considered "beer" once the yeast is pitched, even before fermentation. In my state, anybody can buy homebrew supplies, even children. It's not legal for them to brew but it's legal to buy the supplies. Now, I don't think too many retailers would sell to a child but I've had my kids pick up DME for me on occasion, if truth be told!

However, I've seen plenty of outside demonstrations in different states. My thinking is that if you're not serving it, you're fine.

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Old 09-24-2009, 12:44 PM   #3
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Thanks! I didn't know that you could buy supplies at any age (I'm in Michigan too). I'm excited to do the demonstration but I just wanted to make sure there were no legal ramifications of doing it.

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Old 09-24-2009, 12:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cmdrico7812 View Post
Thanks! I didn't know that you could buy supplies at any age (I'm in Michigan too). I'm excited to do the demonstration but I just wanted to make sure there were no legal ramifications of doing it.
Well, the "local" homebrew shop (a gas station, beer store, deli, bait shop) is actually in Wisconsin. They seem to have no liquor laws at all. Legally, they can serve infants if the parents consent although that seems to be changing. But my daughter ran in and picked up some DME for me when she was over there (it's about 50 miles from here) without an issue. She was probably about 17 or so at the time.

Some states prohibit transport of homebrew, and have other strange laws. But I don't know of any in Michigan that would stop you from having a brewing demo in public. I think a big homebrew store near Detroit (Capn Corks or something like that) does it.
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:58 PM   #5
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The Barley Mob in Chattanooga does a demo at an outdoor market once a month with no problems.

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Old 09-24-2009, 12:58 PM   #6
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If you're worried about it you may want to have that conversation with the organizers of the event and the local authorities. This may not be one of those times that it's easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

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Old 09-24-2009, 01:30 PM   #7
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I would not worry about it. Kids can get the same info online without your help anytime they please. The knowledge is not illegal, but I would pick a kid to volunteer to pitch the yeast. (But maybe crank the mill!)

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Old 09-24-2009, 08:27 PM   #8
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There shouldn't be any legal issues, this Saturday my local club is doing a brew demo in the spirit of Oktoberfest.

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Well, the "local" homebrew shop (a gas station, beer store, deli, bait shop) is actually in Wisconsin. They seem to have no liquor laws at all. Legally, they can serve infants if the parents consent although that seems to be changing. But my daughter ran in and picked up some DME for me when she was over there (it's about 50 miles from here) without an issue. She was probably about 17 or so at the time.
You're right about the laws changing, when I was 17 I went to a sushi place here in WI, and asked for a beer they refused to serve me stating some law where since I was old enough to have my drivers license I could therefore drive after drinking the beer, and this was with my parents. Although I have been refused by Applebee's and like due to corporate policies I haven't heard of that law again outside of that one place, so it could be something the guy made up too.
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Old 09-25-2009, 02:46 AM   #9
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If you're really worried about it, don't pitch the yeast. It'd just be sugar water.

Then you can pitch it at home and still get a batch out of it!

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Old 09-25-2009, 03:44 AM   #10
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Call your local fire marshall. It would be a bummer to have them roll by and shut you down mid-brew. Just my 2 pennies.

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