The growing popularity of home brewing is forcing legislators across the nation to review old alcohol laws. Home brewers are concerned these laws could criminalize the hobby and lead to the cancellation of annual tasting events.
Some of these laws date back to Prohibition, according to the Associated Press. They are rarely enforced, the article notes.
Until 1978, home brewing was illegal in the United States. In that year, the government allowed homemade beer and wine to be offered at tasting competitions. Most alcohol regulations were left up to individual states.
In Wisconsin, the state legislature recently passed a bill allowing home brewers to transport homemade beer and wine, and to share it with other adults. Home brewers will remain exempt from taxes and permit requirements. The law, which is awaiting the governor’s signature, does not allow home brewers to sell any alcohol they produce.
The American Homebrewers Association says at least 17 states have laws that are ambiguous on whether home brewers can transport beer or wine outside the home. In Minnesota and Kansas, home brewers can only produce beverages for themselves or family members, while in states including Arizona, Illinois, Idaho and Hawaii, homemade beer and wine can be consumed by guests.
Alabama and Mississippi are the only states that ban home brewing.
The association sanctioned 411 beer competitions in 2011, up from fewer than 100 in the early 1990s.