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Old 09-15-2007, 11:27 PM   #1
dmcd
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Default Age question with regards to homebrew supplies

Howdy,
I just wanted to ask y'all this question before I make a trip down to the nearest homebrew store (and avoid any potential face-to-face embarassment...). Is it illegal for me to buy any or all brewmaking supplies or equipment in the US if I'm under 21? My brother has expressed numerous times that he would like to brew his own beer (he is over 21). I have brewed my own at home in Germany, but now that I'm in the states for vacation, things are a little different. I was considering helping him get off his lazy butt to start brewing by getting him set up for his birthday, because that'd be a cool gift that I'm sure he'd appreciate and use. So is it legal for me to buy homebrew beer supplies for him here in the US (California to be exact) even though I'm not of legal age to buy actual alcohol myself while here on my very (unfortunately!) sober vacation?
Thanks,
MC

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Old 09-16-2007, 12:50 AM   #2
Sean from New Hampshire
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My LHBS is 21 and over.

Sean

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Old 09-16-2007, 12:53 AM   #3
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You don't need to be 21 to buy beer supplies and ingredients. It is only illegal to posess and consume alcohol, so it only becomes illegal when you add yeast to it.

You should be fine. I live in a huge college town where they check your ID religiously just for even walking into a liquor store and they don't check ID's at my LHBS. They do have signs literally all over the store that say, "It is illegal to posess alcohol of any kind if you are under 21"

You'll be fine.

/Just don't make hootch!

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Old 09-16-2007, 02:24 AM   #4
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I can say with confidence in Maryland it is LEGAL to purchase brew supplies at any age. The reason I know this... LHBS don't charge tax on certain items for wine making because it's, per Maryland code, still a food product until yeast is added.

Likewise, until you've got yeast in it, a fermenter is just a plastic bucket or glass bottle.

That said, some suppliers will set age limits to protect themselves and because they may have alcohol on the premise.

It IS illegal, however, to brew your own in the US if you're under 21.

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Old 09-16-2007, 02:44 AM   #5
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The supplies are food supplies as others have mentioned so you should be okay there but once you create the alcoholic beverage it will depend on state law and I don't know about California specifically but there's probably some kind of 'minor in possession' or 'consumption by minor' laws.

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Old 09-16-2007, 02:46 AM   #6
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Wow, this is quite possibly the first legit "I'm too young" question ever!

You shouldn't have much of a problem getting the supplies, just don't get yourself in trouble with the end product. Good luck helping your bro out!

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Old 09-16-2007, 03:18 AM   #7
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Thanks very much for your time and replies. I'll call ahead, but I am glad to hear that I probably won't have much trouble obtaining the equipment and supplies; my brother will be pretty glad to get them too, I think. This sure is good news, because I didn't really have anything in mind for a plan B gift! I won't be making anything myself while here because firstly, I leave the day after his birthday, and secondly, I can drink what I want back home. No need to break the law! Thanks again and happy brewing
MC

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Old 09-16-2007, 03:21 AM   #8
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Here in CA, the no sales tax also applies because it is a food item, in the raw ingredients. You shouldn't have any problems with age.

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Old 09-16-2007, 03:23 AM   #9
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I believe if it was against the law there would be more restrictions about sending it through the mail/ups etc. No adult signature required.

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Old 09-16-2007, 03:59 AM   #10
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You can send any alcohol to our great state of Massachusetts..

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