Wedding beer legality?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Khirsah17

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Messages
164
Reaction score
1
Hey guys,

I recently got the honor of brewing beer for my friend's wedding. Pretty huge compliment I must say! I decided on making 4 beers for him.

Just yesterday I was wondering if there are any weird legal issues to doing this. I personally don't think so, because it is more or less a private party and I'm not charging for it. However, I thought it might be a good idea to run it by you guys and see what you think.
 

ohiobrewtus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Messages
7,762
Reaction score
74
Location
Ohio
As long as you are not getting paid for the beer then you're fine.
 

TheJadedDog

AFK ATM
Joined
Aug 27, 2006
Messages
3,310
Reaction score
17
Location
People's Republic of Cambridge
In terms of dispensing it you should be fine. I don't know what Ohio's laws are, but I know that in a bunch of states in NE, there are other legal concerns if people are at a party at your house, get smashed, then get in an accident. Again, I've no idea how/if this would apply to you, just something you might want to think about.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
14,262
Reaction score
777
Location
Southwest
Where is the reception? If it's in a place that normally serves alcohol, they may not allow you to bring your own. Otherwise, you're probably fine.
 

Joker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Messages
1,951
Reaction score
36
Location
Orygun
Have them put BYOB on the invitation. That should cover ya. :rockin:
 

Rhoobarb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
3,553
Reaction score
20
Location
Gainesville
I'm brewing beer for our reception; in fact, it's the only beer being served. It's a small affair - 50 people. We had no problems with either the caterer or the reception facility. As long as you aren't selling it, you should be fine.
 

sirsloop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2006
Messages
2,587
Reaction score
25
Location
South River, NJ
Contact the reception hall. With my wedding, the place was willing to allow it under a few conditions. It had to be given as a favor and any open containers had to stay in the building. They had a full liquor license and could not allow us to sell any (not like I would) or bring in kegs, etc etc. We had an open bar as well so it wasn't like we were trying to cut out their services. I know they make a lot on add-ons like booze. We used little gold gift bags, put the bottles in, had custom coasters made, glued 2 to the front of the bag with a name, and used the bags as place cards. It was 2 12oz brews, so there was no problem with people taking it home closed... or drinking it and leaving the bottles. That took roughly 200 bottles (or 20 gallons of beer)...

On top of that, I brewed up 30 gallons for my after party. I kegged them and served them through a cold plate at our horse farm. There were no problems there... just a little party.

Legally, the volume you brew during the year may go over the limit, but who's counting? As long as you are not opening bars or distributing mass quantities you are fine.
 

TexLaw

Here's Lookin' Atcha!
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 19, 2007
Messages
3,672
Reaction score
36
Location
Houston, Texas
I don't know if you're actually within the letter of the law, but I also bet you don't have any troubles. You certainly do want to check with the venue where the beer will be served, though.


TL
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
25,352
Reaction score
4,412
Location
Whitehouse Station
IMHO, you'd protect your butt a little better if your friend signed a waiver of some kind. Technically, you're supplying liquor to him. What if someone slams a telephone pole afterwards? What is your liability based on that?
 

shafferpilot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2007
Messages
1,579
Reaction score
17
Location
Cincinnati OH
and when you do, carefully explain that you'll be in the market for a different facility if they start whining.
 

Nate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2005
Messages
712
Reaction score
23
Location
Virginia
Also check into transporting it. Here in Virginia, I believe you also have to have a distribution license to transport it (I'm sure there is some minimum volume). Just a thought...
 

Buford

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2006
Messages
1,383
Reaction score
15
Location
Richmond, VA
I'm getting married in April here in VA, and the only thing I've been told to get by the venue is a 1-day ABC event license to dispense beer.
 

Evan!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
11,835
Reaction score
104
Location
Charlottesville, VA
Buford said:
I'm getting married in April here in VA, and the only thing I've been told to get by the venue is a 1-day ABC event license to dispense beer.
Buford...duuuuude...I'd read up a little more on that. According to VA ABC law, you can only legally give away a six-pack's worth of beer (72oz) per year per person. Now, I don't know how much people will be paying attention, but I just thought you should know, because it's on the books. Once any one of your guests consumes 73 ounces of beer, you've broken the law. :D Of course, you could just tell everyone that they can't drink more than 72oz each...

God, our legislators are f*cking retards.
 

MriswitH

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2006
Messages
308
Reaction score
1
Location
Traverse City, MI
We're getting married in May and were planning on doing similar but due to our reception halls liquor license, we are unable to furnish liquor and are being forced to pay pretty costly prices for them to provide.

Only thing i'd caution is to ensure that you are entitled to bring in outside alcohol or else you might be throwing a weekend after kegger. :eek:
 

Buford

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2006
Messages
1,383
Reaction score
15
Location
Richmond, VA
Evan! said:
Buford...duuuuude...I'd read up a little more on that. According to VA ABC law, you can only legally give away a six-pack's worth of beer (72oz) per year per person. Now, I don't know how much people will be paying attention, but I just thought you should know, because it's on the books. Once any one of your guests consumes 73 ounces of beer, you've broken the law. :D Of course, you could just tell everyone that they can't drink more than 72oz each...

God, our legislators are f*cking retards.
Some of the liquor laws in VA (ok, all of the liquor laws) are pretty antiquated and retarded. However, I have two things I can say about this particular event: 1) no one will care, and 2) evenly divided, the amount of beer would be enough for 30-40 oz per person. Granted, I'll probably be drinking a lot of it myself :tank:
 

Evan!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
11,835
Reaction score
104
Location
Charlottesville, VA
Man, I'm just giving you sh*t. I doubt even your local ABC agent knows about that particular statute.
 

rabidgerbil

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 29, 2007
Messages
999
Reaction score
40
Location
Seattle
Buford said:
I'm getting married in April here in VA, and the only thing I've been told to get by the venue is a 1-day ABC event license to dispense beer.

my brother in law is getting married on Saturday, and it is the same thing here in Washington. I just got off the phone with the State Liquor Control Board Offices, and they say that all I need is to go to any State Liquor Store and purchase a $10 banquet license for the day of the event, and that it is no problem that it is homebrew, as long as I am not SELLING it.
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
25,352
Reaction score
4,412
Location
Whitehouse Station
I'm still wondering about liability. I know in NJ, the person serving the alcohol is responsible for making sure people don't leave wasted. My cousin drank way too much at a wedding and rolled his truck on the way home (dead). My uncle sued the banquet hall and won.

Now, if you supply the beer the banquet hall now has no liability in that respect. So who has it now?
 

zoebisch01

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
5,180
Reaction score
13
Location
Central PA
Bobby_M said:
I'm still wondering about liability. I know in NJ, the person serving the alcohol is responsible for making sure people don't leave wasted. My cousin drank way too much at a wedding and rolled his truck on the way home (dead). My uncle sued the banquet hall and won.

Now, if you supply the beer the banquet hall now has no liability in that respect. So who has it now?
I was also thinking along the lines of serving to minors. If you are serving it you must make sure nobody underage is drinking it. They will hold you responsible, which is probably something I'd personally be more concerned about (along with Bobby_M's suggestion) in your shoes. If you think about it, when was the last time you saw the LCB raid a wedding? Otoh, if a minor gets drunk or someone leaves drunk and has an accident/gets pulled over/etc then they will trace it back to you.
 

Matt Foley

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2007
Messages
220
Reaction score
0
Evan! said:
God, our legislators are f*cking retards.
I'm sorry, but living in Utah I have to chuckle when I hear others complain about their state's liquor laws. Because of limits on alcohol levels I can only buy most micros at the one state liquor store in town that sells it warm with little selection. Luckily, I am not far from Nevada.

The issue with serving liquor to others is often referred to as "Dramshop Laws." Many states have them making the person who furnishes an excess of booze liable to the injured party. But this would be the case with furnishing any booze, not just homebrew. I would second that you need to watch the minors. As a former beer guzzling minor I know I wouldn't hesitate to approach an unguarded keg.

Good Luck
 

sirsloop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2006
Messages
2,587
Reaction score
25
Location
South River, NJ
Bobby_M said:
I'm still wondering about liability. I know in NJ, the person serving the alcohol is responsible for making sure people don't leave wasted. My cousin drank way too much at a wedding and rolled his truck on the way home (dead). My uncle sued the banquet hall and won.

Now, if you supply the beer the banquet hall now has no liability in that respect. So who has it now?
It really disgusts me to hear stories like that. I know it happens all the time, etc etc, but these day's people don't seem to take accountability for their own actions. Its so f-ed up the way the laws are these days. If someone leaves a bar, drives drunk, crashes and dies/kills someone... how the hell is that the bars fault? I can see if the person is falling over or something, but where is the cut off point? If you blow a .06 you spend a night in jail. That means three beers in an hour and you are DUI. A bar can only serve someone three beers in one hour, then one beer an hour after that. I bet that 50% of people that stay in a bar for more than 2 hours have had 4 drinks. So is the bar liable if their patrons are lightweights and passes out at .06? Do bars collect keys from their patrons to prevent them from driving after they leave? Are bartenders in charge of babysitting a ".08%" intoxicated person that decided they are ok to drive?
 

shafferpilot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2007
Messages
1,579
Reaction score
17
Location
Cincinnati OH
That is exactly why YOU don't serve it. Let the banquet hall serve it, and they are on their own. Doesn't really matter where it comes from, the liability is based on the idea that the person serving should be cutting off people who have consumed too much. I DO, however, think it is critical to consult a lawyer. I know it sounds SO rediculous, but a little piece of mind is worth a $75 meeting with the person who would be defending you in the case of a law suit!!
 

jfliv

Active Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2007
Messages
39
Reaction score
0
If you check with your lawyer, she'll say don't do it. But she'll tell you that you can't do anything. In today's climate where you practically have to sign a waiver to breath, everyone is exposed.

If it were me, I would use common sense. If your brewski is high alc. %, I'd be sure to advertise that. Most folks are used to being able to drink as many Bud Lights as their bladder can expel. They through a couple SN Pale Ale's down and are flopping around like a bad prom date.

I'm in NJ, and the laws around brewing are pretty restrictive (apparently I need a license...hmmm). I doubt that legally anyone could serve my homebrew at a commercial venue (for profit or otherwise). But, I know of a whole lot of other things that aren't even close to legal that go on....
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
25,352
Reaction score
4,412
Location
Whitehouse Station
sirsloop said:
It really disgusts me to hear stories like that. I know it happens all the time, etc etc, but these day's people don't seem to take accountability for their own actions. Its so f-ed up the way the laws are these days. If someone leaves a bar, drives drunk, crashes and dies/kills someone... how the hell is that the bars fault? I can see if the person is falling over or something, but where is the cut off point? If you blow a .06 you spend a night in jail. That means three beers in an hour and you are DUI. A bar can only serve someone three beers in one hour, then one beer an hour after that. I bet that 50% of people that stay in a bar for more than 2 hours have had 4 drinks. So is the bar liable if their patrons are lightweights and passes out at .06? Do bars collect keys from their patrons to prevent them from driving after they leave? Are bartenders in charge of babysitting a ".08%" intoxicated person that decided they are ok to drive?
I forgot to mention he was only 20 years old at the time so not only did they serve an underage, but they served to the point where he couldn't drive. Of course it doesn't justify suing but I think you tend to want to place blame when your son is dead and you can't take it out on him.
 
OP
K

Khirsah17

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Messages
164
Reaction score
1
Great discussion guys. I guess I wasn't expecting this many replies!

As far as my situation goes, it's fairly laid back because it's being held at my church. A wedding I went to last year there had kegs of beer from local microbreweries. It wasn't an open bar either, it was served by staff I think. So I think that pretty much covers the issues of underagers, and it doesn't seem like they care what gets brought in.

Either way, liability is still a concern, so I think I'm going to call them up and just see what they have to say about it. Hopefully they have that taken care of.

I guess the last remaining issue is when I haul my kegerator full of beer in the back of my truck to the reception hall. Hopefully I can argue that I couldn't physically operate the vehicle while drinking from that 'open container'. :)
 

Melana

Up to no good....
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
8,538
Reaction score
2,674
Location
Norfolk
Beer in a church? That sounds like a fun wedding...
I've been tasked to supply beer for my cousin's wedding in September...
 

Olive Drab

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
Messages
292
Reaction score
5
Melana said:
Beer in a church? That sounds like a fun wedding...
I've been tasked to supply beer for my cousin's wedding in September...
We (the male bridal party members) were all drinking in the back of the church before my buddy's wedding. definitely helped out the groom a bit.
 

Sir Humpsalot

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2006
Messages
3,996
Reaction score
93
I would serve it and forget about it. Especially if other booze is served, you won't be the only one held liable and, of course, they always go after the deeper pockets...
 
OP
K

Khirsah17

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Messages
164
Reaction score
1
Oh, it'll get served in some form or another! I just finished up my 4 recipes. I've never put so much time and thought into all the ingredients and the overall balance. This is certainly going to my my crowning achievement to date.
 

chthonik

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2007
Messages
127
Reaction score
1
Location
Baltimore
I know the bartender at our wedding (in MD) was covered by liability insurance. We brought up the possibility of using homebrew for the toasts (which would have been served by the bartending staff), and our bartender had no problems with that.
 

Rhoobarb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
3,553
Reaction score
20
Location
Gainesville
Khirsah17 said:
...when I haul my kegerator full of beer in the back of my truck to the reception hall. ... :)
In our case, we have to bring the beer to the caterer and the caterer brings the beer to the hall and does the serving. Makes it "the biggest no-brainer in the history of Earth" for us!
 

GloHoppa

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2007
Messages
440
Reaction score
2
Khirsah17 said:
Great discussion guys.
+1 this is a really interesting discussion on alcohol liability, legality, etc. I just read this whole thread (its a crime when i rhyme :ban: ) and I have to say that it has been fascinating to read different opinions from different states since all the laws are state -specific

and congrats to getting such an honor! I hope that once I get good at this brewing thing (or mildly proficient :tank: ) that I might do that to my friends sometime in the near future
 
Top