Monday, September 5, 2011

More Legislation: This Time for Homebrewers

Back in April we talked about a kerfuffle that arose around serving homebrew in public places. Primarily, we noted that it was, technically, illegal. Yet, obviously, "everyone does it". If you've been to a Wisconsin beer festival in the last few years, there's a good chance that a local homebrew club has had a space set up to do demonstrations and provide tastes of their own products.

Homebrewing is a vital level of the modern american brewing scene. Many of your favorite professional brewers began their lives as homebrewers. Homebrewing also been singularly responsible for the surge in popularity in cider and mead. To the extent we want to encourage nascent entrepreneurs to perfect and expand their industries, this is exactly the activity that homebrewers and homebrew clubs do.

Of course, the naysayers will naysay. Opponents will point to the fact that homebrew is an even more nefarious public health risk than regulated beer - who knows what gets put it into it, how much alcohol is in it, whether it is sanitary, etc. Distributors will point out that this is the only alcohol product that is untaxed.

So, the Wisconsin Homebrewers Alliance have proposed some draft legislation to attempt to remedy their problem: namely, that much of what they currently do, in practice, is not, technically, legal. Even if it goes largely unenforced.

The following is the draft legislation.

------------------------------START DRAFT LEGISLATION-------------------


125.06 License and permit exceptions. No license or permit is required under this
chapter for:


(3) Homemade wine or fermented malt beverages. The manufacture of wine or
fermented malt beverages of any alcoholic content by any person at his or her home,
farm or place of residence if the wine or fermented malt beverages is to be consumed by
that person or his or her family and guests, and if the person manufacturing the wine or
fermented malt beverages receives no compensation.

(3) Homemade wine or fermented malt beverages. (a) The making of homemade
wine or fermented malt beverages by any person, if the total of the homemade wine or
fermented malt beverages made during a calendar year does not exceed one hundred
gallons in a household having one person of legal drinking age or two hundred gallons in
a household having two or more persons of legal drinking age, and if the homemade wine
or fermented malt beverages is not sold or offered for sale. For purposes of this Chapter,
a person who makes homemade wine or fermented malt beverages is not a “brewer”
or “manufacturer” as those terms are defined in s. 125.02, as long as the person making
the homemade wine or fermented malt beverages receives no compensation.

(b) The possession, storage, or transportation of any such homemade wine or fermented
malt beverages, or the mash or wort produced for the purpose of making such homemade
wine or fermented malt beverages.

(c) The demonstration, judging, tasting, sampling, exhibition, contest or competition
of such homemade wine or fermented malt beverages. An owner, lessee, or person in
charge of a public place, including a brewer, licensee, or permittee under this Chapter,
may conduct, sponsor, or host a demonstration, judging, tasting, sampling, exhibition,
contest, or competition of homemade wine or fermented malt beverages at the public
place or the premises described in the license or permit, as long as they do not acquire
any ownership interest in or sell the homemade wine or fermented malt beverages.
A licensee or permittee may allow homemade wine or fermented malt beverages to
be stored at the premises described in the license or permit if the homemade wine or
fermented malt beverages are clearly identified and kept separate from the alcohol
beverage stock of the licensee or permittee. The possession, storage, providing, or
consumption of homemade wine or fermented malt beverages as part of a demonstration,
judging, tasting, sampling, exhibition, contest or competition is not a violation of ss.
125.09 (1), 125.14 (5), 125.315, 125.32 (6) or 125.67, and the labeling requirements of s.
125.32 (7) do not apply to homemade wine or fermented malt beverages kept or served as
part of such events or activities. Homemade wine or fermented malt beverages submitted
or consumed as part of a demonstration, judging, tasting, sampling, exhibition, contest, or
competition are not “sold or offered for sale”, and a prize awarded at such demonstration,
judging, tasting, sampling, exhibition, contest, or competition is not “compensation” for
purposes of the exception set forth in s.125.06(3)(a).

139.04 Exclusions. No tax is levied by ss. 139.02 and 139.03 in respect to:

(1) Making of wine, cider or fermented malt beverages at home solely for consumption
therein and use thereof in such home by the family and guests without compensation.

(1) Making, possessing, storing, transporting, or consuming homemade wine or
fermented malt beverages produced in accordance with s. 125.06 (3) (a), or conducting,
sponsoring, or hosting a demonstration, judging, tasting, sampling, exhibition, contest or
competition of homemade wine or fermented malt beverages as described in s. 125.06 (3)
(c).

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