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Old 06-07-2012, 03:07 PM   #1
dacaldera
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Default Legality of my Operation

Hi everyone,

Im hoping I can get some advise from the community on this one before I talk to a legal professional.
Basically, I'm brewing beer in a warehouse space that belongs to a business that is in the ceramics industry. They have some extra space and are allowing me to brew up some beer there free of rent. The beer is only for personal use, not for sale or distribution.
An inspector came by yesterday just doing a general inspection of the building. Although the inspector did not see or know about the beer being brewed, he did ask If i was storing flammable liquids. I said no.
I'm concerned that the use of the space to brew beer might violate the lease contract of the business as it is not stipulated in the agreement that beer will be brewed here. Am I putting the ceramics business at risk by home brewing in their warehouse? If an inspector sees the beer, will that breach any contracts that the ceramic business has with the landlord? I do not want to jeopardize the business.
Also, this is Texas, so beer laws are wanky here.

-thanks

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Old 06-07-2012, 03:15 PM   #2
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are you using propane or nat gas?

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Old 06-07-2012, 03:17 PM   #3
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my advice would be to not take the advice of anyone on this forum and talk to a legal professional.

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Old 06-07-2012, 03:17 PM   #4
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If you aren't selling the homebrew, then you personally aren't doing anything wrong by brewing in your buddy's warehouse.

SO, the only legalities involved would be the governing rules of the ceramics business and the business' lease on the warehouse.

Even those, I would think they would give you fair warning to move the homebrewing out of the warehouse before they took any legal action, so just use a little common sense and I think you are OK.

That said, if it feels iffy, then it is probably iffy, and you may want to seek out some alternatives.

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Old 06-07-2012, 03:18 PM   #5
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No one can know what the lease agreement specifically stipulates besides the landlord and the business. I suppose technically the "home production" aspect of homebrewing law is being violated but who knows if would ever be an issue.

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Old 06-07-2012, 03:21 PM   #6
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I think you are safe as far as homebrewing laws go, depending on whether or not your state allows transportation of homebrew (some places are still stone-age level).

But hopsalot has a point about flammable liquids. A portable propane tank may not be legally stored in that place. Or the inspector might be worried about gasoline cans, etc.

If you are using a piped-in gas, then you should be fine. But the only way to know for sure is to find out what the code is for that area.

And for others' clarification, the beer made there cannot be sold, traded, bartered, etc. no matter where it was brewed. Homebrew is for personal consumption only.

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Old 06-07-2012, 03:27 PM   #7
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IMHO, there are two issues to consider.

1.) Use of Propane. If you are using propane, that is a flammable liguid. "Storing" is an arguable term.

2.) Zoning. The area may not be zoned appropriately for process that involved "Food Preparation" and an inspector may assert that a health department license be required in order for it to continue. It's a commercial property, in a commercialized zone, thus anything that takes place within will be scrutinized under commercial ordinances. The fact that you aren't selling the product has no bearing.

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Old 06-07-2012, 03:32 PM   #8
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Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I would be up-front with the landlord if communication is possible.

Just say you want to respect his property and without knowing the lease agreement in place, would it be ok to brew on the premises.

As a landlord myself, being forthcoming and open with information goes a long way.

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Old 06-07-2012, 03:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopsalot
are you using propane or nat gas?
Propane
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Old 06-07-2012, 03:36 PM   #10
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On the federal side, the law is not clear. It mentions the "household" an awful lot, but does not specifically say its illegal. The applicable laws:

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text...dno=27;cc=ecfr

Of course, assuming that checks out (not saying it does, I give it a maybe), there's state and local laws to deal with. I don't want to give legal advice, but I'd be cautious. Generally, state and federal agents only care about taxes. Local officials only care about "appearances".

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