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Old 10-13-2012, 04:53 PM   #1
kkortum
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Default Legality

Is it legal to sell home-brewed fermented store bought juice with the proper licensing (manufacturing and distributing) without the permission of the juice company?

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Old 10-13-2012, 05:16 PM   #2
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Besides the problems of selling homebrew (which wouldn't be called homebrew any longer if you've gotten the appropriate licensing), I wouldn't think so. IANAL, but I would suspect it would be similar to you owning the property purchased from the company, to do with whatever you pleased. I don't believe home builders require the permission of lumber yards to sell houses, Ford requiring the permission of a steel mill to sell cars, bakerys requiring the permission of hudson cream to sell cakes, ect*... I don't think that they are licensing the juice out to individuals. The only reason I would think you're not finding much info is because most who do this wouldn't buy the juice retail, the would get it wholesale from a larger distributer.

*Advice is always worth 2x the ammount paid for it.

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Old 10-13-2012, 05:25 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice, I thought of similar examples similar to the lumber. i.e. restaurant supplies for local restaurants. I just started a bit of fermenting last year and I found I really enjoy doing it. I believe I have discovered a good combination of store bought fruit juice, sugar, and yeast (with the right time, ratios, and methodology) even with store bought stuff it still has potential to be quite profitable. It yields high alcohol content and great taste. I would like to acquire the necessary licencing and pursue this. Would I have to have a location (other than my home) with the proper licensing to distribute?

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Old 10-13-2012, 05:31 PM   #4
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Almost certainly. I know it depends on each state, but I don't think you're able to create it in your "home". However, you can use your house under certain conditions, such as using the basement, if and only if it has no access from inside the house, ect.. There are a few threads on here about the very same thing I think. Try sending an email to your states alcohol and tobacco control board for the licensing info.

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Old 10-13-2012, 05:38 PM   #5
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It seems like it would depend on any agreement there was with the seller when it was purchased. But since I've never seen any agreement like that for a purchase from the grocery store it seems like it would be ok. Now if you plan to say something like "Hard Cider - Made with Mott's Apple Juice!" now that's something completely different. In the earlier example right Ford uses steel to make trucks but they don't say "Made with Republic Steel!", not to say they couldn't, but then it seems like Republic Steel would need to agree to it that it aligns with their goals.

I guess the bottom line is you are planning to sell brew for profit you're going to need legal assistance anyway, so this would be just one more thing to check on.

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Old 10-17-2012, 04:05 PM   #6
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I seem to recall reading a federal regulation that a certain percentage of all wine produced must be made from fruit/juice grown within the state of licensure and you have to get approval to use fruit/juice from out of state, not to mention that some states require approval for everything used in your wine.

I know several commercial winemakers from various states that use commercially available juice to make their wine. This juice has a label such as "Welch's, Mott's, etc." I once asked them about consent from the brand & was told they purchased in bulk from a commercial vendor & sometimes bought from stores like Costco/Sam's/WalMart and as long as their label does not say "Welch's, Mott's, etc." there is no concern. If they go to competition they disclose the brand, etc--if required by the competition. And our conversation ended with "always check with your legal team though, because the rules can change".

Basement wineries do exist in SOME states. If you live in a subdivision they may not approve or even allow it. If you have a homeowner's association the bylaws likely say "no businesses within the home". But your state licensing agency can give you the lowdown.

Do not forget anything make before you are licensed and approved cannot be used/sold in your commercial setup. Was at a roundtable discussion and a story was told about a licensed winery that used to make "personal" wine on the premises, and was supposed to be considered taxable wine. A barrel room tour was given--winemaker was asked about a certain set of fermenters that were skipped over during the tour & replied they contained personal wine "for family and friends only". This was reported they think by someone on the tour & the winery had to pay huge fines, feds were ready to take the entire winery contents and shut them down. This happened about three years ago.

I wish you the best if you do pursue moving to commercial side.

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Old 10-18-2012, 11:14 PM   #7
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You do not need permision from the juice company. Check with state laws to ensure your percentages are legal for your additions if any.

May I ask where you are getting the juice from?

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