Homebrew to be served at Michigan breweries?
LANSING — The American Homebrewers Asociation and the Brewers Association is seeking support of legislation to allow homebrew to be served at Michigan breweries.
Current Michigan regulations prohibit the serving of homebrew for any purpose at microbreweries or brewpubs, according to an email from the AHA.
House Bill 4061, sponsored by State Representative Doug Geiss (D-Taylor) would allow homebrew to be served at licensed Michigan breweries for activities like club meetings and competitions.
For homebrew club Kalamazoo Libation Organization of Brewers (KLOB) this legislation is essential, President Chris Elston said in an email.
KLOB currently has about 90 members and Elston expects that number to exceed a 100 before the end of the year.
Both the size of the club and the lack of meeting space options are problems for the club.
KLOB currently meets at Old Dog Tavern, 402 E. Kalamazoo Ave., in Kalamazoo and attendance usually is anywhere from 20 to 50 people, Elston said.
"Unfortunately, we are hindered by the fact that, since they are a bar, we cannot bring in homebrew to share among our members. Without this fundamental activity, it's difficult (if not impossible) for our members to share their thoughts, experience and knowledge about the beers they and their peers create at home," he wrote.
Elston also pointed out that homebrewing and craft beer have a symbiotic relationship.
Almost every professional brewer or brewery started at the homebrew level at one point in time, he said.
"Both home and professional brewers are constantly one upping each other to create innovative products and both would suffer if either side was hindered."
The bottom line, Elston said is that "homebrewing is good for local business."
"The brewing industry is thriving in Michigan and that's at least partially the result of a strong homebrewing community that both supports and inspires it."
Geiss, along with AHA Governing Committee Chair Chris Frey and fellow homebrewer Phil Wilcox, met with members of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to discuss similar legislation in March 2010.
If all goes well, the bill will then go on to a House vote, followed by a Senate vote and then potential new legislation, according to Frey.
If you want to voice your opinion, you can contact the Regulatory Reform Committee Members below.
• Hugh D. Crawford (R), Committee Chair, 38th District
• Ken Yonker (R), Majority Vice-Chair, 72nd District
• Paul E. Opsommer (R), 93rd District
• Kevin Daley (R), 82nd District
• Tom McMillin (R), 45th District
• Jim Stamas (R), 98th District
• Michael Shirkey (R), 65th District
• Ray A. Franz (R), 101st District
• Ed McBroom (R), 108th District
• Bruce R. Rendon (R), 103rd District
• Tim Melton (D), Minority Vice-Chair, 29th District
• Harold L. Haugh (D), 42nd District
• Barb Byrum (D), 67th District
• Dian Slavens (D), 21st District
• James Womack (D), 7th District
I so need to move back home.
I contacted all of the people on that list yesterday and a couple responded with automated acknowledgement, and a couple of others responded that they supported the bill.
While I wholly support the bill because it just makes sense, (I mean, we aren't risking anything if this goes through), I do appreciate where we are with homebrewing compared to many states.
The amendment would not hurt business, IMO, since the amount of homebrew allowed each person would be pretty small. It's really designed to allow for "tastings". But it would get people in the pubs and they are likely to purchase either food or drink while there.
The establishments already have liquor licenses and have the room, and manpower, an experience, to provide for any situation. Much better than a random person's house.
Also, the business would have the option of hosting such tastings, so they can be scheduled around busy times, or not hosted at all, at the owners' discretion. They would have the final say if they want HB in their place (but I don't know why they wouldn't, see first point above.
I expect, a few of the brewers and management people at the brewpubs would be interested in seeing what the HB'ers are doing lately. Most of them are friend's with a few homebrewers.
I'm writing them an email right now.
FYI - They are not voting on the law at this time. I think they are in process of drafting a law, which will go to house and senate at a later time (if all goes well).
The bill has been drafted. It is in the Regulatory Reform House committee. They have been sitting on it since January. If they approve it by committee vote, it will be moved forward for a vote of the House. Now that its more out in the open, hopefully that will be sooner rather than later!
d*mn you michigan and your awesome homebrew laws...
I like the way we have it. The only thing that I dislike is the fact that you are not allowed to decide if your underage child can have a drink. Not even for religious purposes.
Some states allow the parent to make the choice as long as it's not considered abusive (excessive amounts). Some states say that you can if it's connected to a religious ceremony. I think that teaching your kids to handle alcohol is part parenting. Of course I would keep an eye on how much my kids drank, and so far neither seem interested (I've offered).
Kara, at age 9, had a taste of IPA we were bottling and couldn't rush to the bathroom fast enough. Hasn't accepted an offer since.
Kim, this year, had a taste of Kid Rock's American Badass, and quickly washed it down with some water. (My wife's comment was, "Is this water?")
But yeah, our Homebrew laws are awesome! It would be neat if we had a local club that could meet somewhere nearby. I *think* the bill only allows tastings at "brewpubs", not simple bars. So we'd have to meet in Big Rapids, since our small town doesn't have a brewery of any kind. The Brewpub in BR has hosted commercial beer tastings, so I think they would be open to doing club tastings.
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