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Old 09-28-2010, 03:42 PM   #1
mrkstel
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Default Homebrewing Service?

First, let me preface this by saying that I am NOT doing this, nor am I planning on doing this. The question arose during a conversation with a co-worker and I just thought I would get a few other opinions.

The question is: Would it be legal to provide homebrewing services for a fee? For example, imagine you had a buddy who loved your latest Coors Light Clone and he would like you to brew him a batch using your equipment. He would purchase all the ingredients and you would brew it, ferment it and keg/bottle it. In return, would it be legal to charge him a service fee for "general labor" or "storage space" or "carboy rental"? Another approach would be to sell him supplies (grain, hops, yeast) from your inventory at a marked up price. Then you brew the beer for him. I think you see where I'm going with this. It is his beer. He owns it. You would just be providing a service or selling him unregulated supplies.

My gut tells me that it would still be considered selling alcohol in the eyes of the BATF. Am I right?

Again, I'm not planning on doing this. Just making conversation.

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Old 09-28-2010, 03:48 PM   #2
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Once the yeast hits the wort I don't think it's legal anymore. I bet you could skirt the rules by charging for finished wort then let your client pitch the yeast, but I'm not a lawyer nor do I have any understanding of the alcohol laws in any state.

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Old 09-28-2010, 03:50 PM   #3
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I think the issue (ATF) would come in once you pitched the yeast. IANAL, but the LHBS mentioned that they could do everything in their shop, but they could not pitch yeast, at that point it falls under different regs.

If I remember correctly there is a company on one of the brewing tv episodes that does something similar to this, where they have a brewmaster helping people out to make up a recipe, etc.

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Old 09-28-2010, 03:52 PM   #4
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I could be completely wrong here, And if i am..I know i will be corrected.

General idea here is, No you cant "sell" your beer outright.

If someone wants your beer, and you are willing to make it for them...Great.

Hand them the list of what you need, Send them down to the local homebrew store or have them get it online and you make it.

You can Not make ANY profit from beer.
Basicly, Profit = someone wants there tax $$$$
No Profit = no worries

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Old 09-28-2010, 03:53 PM   #5
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For legality I would sell him wort. Then give him the wort along with an optional carboy renting fee. It's up to him what he wants to do with his Malt koolaid you just sold him. If he decides to ferment it, that's up to him, Then you could always help him bottle it for free at his place as a friendly gesture (the price is just inflated into the price of the malt koolaid you sold him of course.

That being said, if it's just a buddy that wants to buy an occasional batch, I would just brew it bottle it and charge him whatever you agreed on. I wouldn't go making it a company or doing it all the time to make thousands of dollars. Yes, technically you're selling beer without a license, but c'mon.

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Old 09-28-2010, 03:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finley View Post
I think the issue (ATF) would come in once you pitched the yeast. IANAL, but the LHBS mentioned that they could do everything in their shop, but they could not pitch yeast, at that point it falls under different regs.
Huh, I never thought of that. So, maybe you could sell him finished wort, have him pitch the yeast and then charge a storage fee to store the wort while it ferments.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:55 PM   #7
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Here we go again, people trying to circumvent a very clear cut set of laws...

Any form of EXCHANGE for homebrew is considered illegal under the 1978 repeal of the ban on homebrewing, H.R. 1337...unless of course you become licensed to do so, and pay taxes.

That's the bottom line, folks.

In fact Bartering of alcohol of any type is illegal, period, even for licensed retailers.

Quote:

Trading or Bartering

The trading or bartering of alcoholic beverages for cash or in exchange for different alcoholic beverages by and between retail liquor dealers, in order that they may take advantage of special deals involving quantity discounts or free goods offered by wholesale liquor dealers, is not a bona fide loan of liquors described in Revenue Ruling 54-509 which outlines transactions constituting bona fide loans. Such trading or bartering constitutes sales for purpose of resale and engaging in this practice would subject the retail dealers to liability for special tax as wholesale liquor dealers and would necessitate the acquiring of basic permits as wholesale liquor dealers. This ruling relates only to the trading or bartering of merchandise between retailers after purchase thereof by one or more retailers individually, and not to the cooperative purchasing of alcoholic beverages by several retailers, dealt with in Revenue Ruling 56-204.

26 U.S.C. 5111; 27 CFR 194.28
And if you are planning to do so, I wouldn't be discussing it on the largest homebrewing site on the web......

Whenever a thread like this, or someone trying to make money off homebrew for whatever reason, charity or otherwise, all these "armchair lawyers," come up with all the ways they think could be "get arounds" the law. Sorry kids, you can hypothesize all you want, but do you notice ever any actually attorneys with knowledge of the law ever coming up with some of this stuff? No.

Whether we agree with the laws or not. You can't loophole your way through this. The laws are pretty specific in regards to homebrewing- any medium of exchange, be it money or barter involving homebrew is illegal.

Remember homebrewing wasn't re-legalized after the Volstead act was repealed in 1933, it wasn't legalized until 1978, and it took a lot of work in those 45 years to get it to happen....and despite it's federal legalization, it is STILL on a State by State basis.

Wasn't it legalized in Utah JUST this very year?

Do a little reading on the history of prohibition and the legalizing of homebrewing, and maybe you'll quit the idiotic hypothisizing about trying to get around the law, and realize what a fine razors edge this hobby sits on to many folks.

Some folks still think you can go blind drinking homebrew.
Other's can't distinguish what we're doing with making meth.

Hell even some cops look on what we're doing with suspicion.

Don't believe me? Check out this Cops episode if you haven't already....look at what "John Law" has to say about our little hobby. "The concotion he was making could be deadly..."


Hell, if MADD gets ever gets their way the oldschool version of prohibition may be like a picnic, compared to what it would be like in modern times. You think they'd let us make anything? (HomeWine making was sort of legal during prohibition as long as you didn't sell)

Look what may be happening in Canada; DUI legislation may expand to allow random breathalyzer tests

No probable cause would be necessary to be forced to breath into a tube.

Quit thinking you can run around the law....if you really want to help, then try to change the laws....Write your congress people, better yet become a congressperson. But quit thinking you can scheme your way through this.

That's what doesn't help give us a good name.

Read this for some enlightenment...It was one of our members http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f19/ohio...5/#post1590903

And this from just a couple weeks ago http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/alab...hlight=alabama

This thread has all of the links covering the bill that legalized Homebrewing...it is a good resource and a very good read.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/hist...g-info-194974/


If you want to do this, contact the local liquor control commission, find out the laws, and follow the legal process and do it. Plenty of people have. All it It takes time and money.....
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrkstel View Post
Huh, I never thought of that. So, maybe you could sell him finished wort, have him pitch the yeast and then charge a storage fee to store the wort while it ferments.
I doubt it. If you are charging a fee and delivering an end product that is alcoholic then it's illegal. Your end product would have to be the wort. Client takes it home and pitches the yeast. Plastic buckets are cheap so if you have to tack on an extra $15 for the bucket then I doubt it's an issue. I'm not sure how you get around the bottling issue though.

And after reading Revvy's note I guess I'll gracefully bow out of this discussion. Like I said in my first post I'm not a lawyer and don't have any knowledge of alcohol laws in any of our lovely states
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:59 PM   #9
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Let me ask an analogous question.

If I assault you with a baseball bat and say I've played a game of softball, and knowing that playing softball is legal, have I broken the law?

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Old 09-28-2010, 04:03 PM   #10
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Revvy,

I was serious when I said this was just a question that came from a co-worker. It was just a curiosity. I have NO intention of doing this. I'm sorry if it came off as a tongue in cheek question. I enjoy the hobby too much to risk jeopordizing it for everyone. And frankly, if a buddy does want a batch of my coors light clone, I would gladly brew if for him, no charge. I will gladly remove the thread if you think it will cause problems.

Sorry,

mrkstel

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