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Old 06-04-2005, 12:37 AM   #1
sudsmonkey
 
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Can anyone tell me what the legal requirements are to be able to sell homebrew or to get set up as a commercial microbrewery? I'm a long way from this point, but I just wanted to know.



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Old 06-04-2005, 12:42 PM   #2
bikebryan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sudsmonkey
Can anyone tell me what the legal requirements are to be able to sell homebrew or to get set up as a commercial microbrewery? I'm a long way from this point, but I just wanted to know.
I don't know the rules of every state, but from what I've gathered, many states allow you to brew beer at home, but it is not legal to sell it. To sell alcoholic beverages requires a permit from the state - otherwise they are missing out on their share of revenue from taxing the sale of alcoholic beverages. Some states apparently make it illegal to just give it away as well.

You can brew it home and drink it home, but you can't sell or give it away. That's the general rule I live by to stay out of hot water.

 
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Old 06-05-2005, 11:16 PM   #3
SwAMi75
 
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What state are you in, sudsmonkey? AFAIK, the selling of homebrew is illegal in the US. The laws regarding how much one can brew, and those regading giving homebrew away differs by state.

I don't know of a place to look up your state's laws online, but I bet you could get in touch with a club in your area, and they could set you straight. Most likely the peeps at a nearby HBS should have this info, as well.
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Old 06-06-2005, 09:27 AM   #4
bikebryan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam75
What state are you in, sudsmonkey? AFAIK, the selling of homebrew is illegal in the US. The laws regarding how much one can brew, and those regading giving homebrew away differs by state.

I don't know of a place to look up your state's laws online, but I bet you could get in touch with a club in your area, and they could set you straight. Most likely the peeps at a nearby HBS should have this info, as well.
You could also look up the rules of the state Alcohol and Beverage Commission (ABC) or its equivalent. They probably have a website, and they are going to be the group that controls this sort of thing.

 
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Old 06-06-2005, 11:27 AM   #5
smorris
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The state is actually the least of your concerns. You do not want to get crossways to ATF. If you sell homebrew you are no different than a moonshiner in their eyes, with all the attributes that come with that distinction.

 
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Old 06-06-2005, 12:09 PM   #6
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First off, some terminology. You will not be selling homebrew under any circumstances. Getting set up in your area to sell alcoholic beverages will automatically put you into a whole different classfication - and homebrew will not be in the title.

If you are in an area with a brewery, go check them out and make some inquiries. Next, call your city or county clerk, i.e. the place that collects money, and simply ask them what is required. Make sure you know what you're really asking - getting classified as a brewery is probably different than getting set up as a brew pub. However, either one will require contact with multiple agencies between federal, state and local. Alcohol laws are goofy almost everywhere and every bureaucrat wants a piece of the pie. Be patient and let us know what you find out.

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Old 06-06-2005, 02:24 PM   #7
andre the giant
 
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Yeah, state and federal laws are a little whacky. There's a brewpub here called Buckner Brewing Company. The brewmaster says that state and federal requirements aren't that stringent, until you start bottling, kegging and selling your beer in other stores. Then you move to a whole different level.

Talk about goofy alcohol laws... The brewer at the local brewpub says that in the state of Missouri, it is illegal to commercially brew "fruit" beers using real fruit. All Missouri breweries must use fruit extracts if they are to brew, say, a raspberry wheat beer. Seems a bit odd to me. It's probably a throwback to some law that Anheuser-Busch lobbyed for long ago. Who knows?
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Old 06-06-2005, 10:58 PM   #8
bikebryan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnlandsailor
First off, some terminology. You will not be selling homebrew under any circumstances. Getting set up in your area to sell alcoholic beverages will automatically put you into a whole different classfication - and homebrew will not be in the title.

If you are in an area with a brewery, go check them out and make some inquiries. Next, call your city or county clerk, i.e. the place that collects money, and simply ask them what is required. Make sure you know what you're really asking - getting classified as a brewery is probably different than getting set up as a brew pub. However, either one will require contact with multiple agencies between federal, state and local. Alcohol laws are goofy almost everywhere and every bureaucrat wants a piece of the pie. Be patient and let us know what you find out.

Prosit,
It can sometimes be difficult to get a license from the ABC in your jurisdiction. In the several states I have lived in over the years, every municipality had a limited number of permits that could be issued for the sale of alcoholic beverages. Many cities had waiting lists of places that wanted a license, and they couldn't get one until someplace else in that jurisdiction either closed up shop or had their license revoked for some reason.

 
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Old 06-08-2005, 05:37 AM   #9
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Here's just some of what is required to open a brewery:

* A Bureau of Alcohol , Tobacco and Firearms federal brewing license (issued after a wait of about two months), which includes a background check and a detailed application requesting a variety of documentation, including where the money comes from.
* A $1,000 BATF bond.
* Precise record keeping including amounts of grain and other ingredients purchased and proof materials purchased equal amount of product produced in a given period.
* Twice monthly tax payments to the BATF of $7 a barrel, and proper documentation to indicate payments represent an accurate reflection of production.
* State certification including a brewery license, manufacturing license and wholesaler's beer license.
* A visit from an agent of the BATF when the brewery is up and ready to start running-but before it starts running. The agent inspects equipment and documentation and explains ongoing paperwork to be filled.
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Old 06-10-2005, 01:58 PM   #10
tnlandsailor
 
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Ugghh. And the list is probably longer than that. Those are just the high points, right? I think I'll just brew more and invite some guest over.
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