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