Is it Legal to Brew Your Own Beer?
The question of whether or not setting up a home brewery is legal comes up from time to time and may even be one you’re asking yourself for your own hobby, or it may be something you’ve faced from friends and family members. It’s sort of sad that anytime someone wants to do something, anything, in their own home they need to think about whether or not they actually need permission from the government to do so.
The short answer is, yes, it is perfectly legal to make your own beer with only minor restrictions. These are designed not so much to restrict you as they are to protect you, and those around you. For example, anyone that wants to sell food products to anyone else needs to follow very strict guidelines about hygiene and the cleanliness of their food preparation facility. The person making the food may resent that, but obviously the person buying the food doesn’t! Chances are you yourself take it for granted that you can go into the grocery store or any restaurant, or buy anything edible at a convenience store, and just assume that these things are prepared in a clean and safe environment.
So, if you are thinking about home brew beer as a source of income, then there are a bunch of laws and fees you will need to deal with. Probably more than it’s worth, not to mention you will be competing with multi-national companies!
But for the majority of people who make beer or wine in their own home do so as a hobby, just for themselves and to share with friends and family. They have no interest in selling these things and are just looking to pursue a fun and interesting hobby.
If this describes you then, yes, home brew beer is legal with some restrictions. There are limits on how much you can brew; typically that limit is 100 gallons per year per adult in the household with a maximum of 200 gallons per year produced. Your home brew beer can’t be sold at all unless you have proper licenses; this means that you can’t even charge your friends a dollar to get into a party where you serve your home brew.
No matter what, the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 and this includes the home brew beer products you make yourself. Anyone under that age cannot consume alcohol of any type or even assist you in making it, even if they’re your own children and are on your own property.
Lastly, for my sake and the sake of everyone else on the road, please never get behind the wheel of your car after having too much of your home brew, even if you just want to make a short trip.
So as long as you stay within these general guidelines, you should be fine. And if you have any questions or want to be sure of things, don’t hesitate to call your local police station or county clerk’s office for clarification.
To learn more about home brew beer, visit The Beer Bible and learn first hand how to get the most enjoyment out of your home brewing experience.