Should Alabama Legalize Homebrewing?


By Ashley Thompson

Producing homemade beer and wine is outlawed in Alabama but that could change very soon.  A proposed bill could make homebrewing legal.

Alabama and Mississippi are the only two states in the country that have yet to legalize homebrewing and some people here think it's time for that to change.

Lee Harrison owns a store in Cloverdale that sells equipment for beer and wine making. He says he opened the store because he's optimistic that Alabama will soon legalize homebrewing. Harrison says although the hobby is illegal, some people in Alabama still take part in it.

"There are homebrew clubs in Montgomery that have regular meetings and tasting events and it's something that's been in this state for a long time," he says.

A bill will be proposed in the upcoming legislative session and if passed, it would do away with what some call a form of prohibition. But not everyone is on board with trying to legalize it. 

"There are a lot of people who think that homebrewing is dangerous because kids will get involved in it," says Harrison.

And sergeant Wayne Mackey of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board says underage drinking and homebrewing abuse is a definite possibility.

"With homebrewing, you lose a certain aspect of control," says Mackey. "Then you end up with a situation where you have several under-aged individuals that are all living in a house and they're all brewing this beer at home."

If the bill does pass, Mackey says the ABC board will be watchful of those engaging in the craft.

"We will take measures obviously to continue doing our mission to provide that service to the public. One aspect is to enforce under-aged drinking laws," he says.

Still, others say the perception of those who brew their own alcohol needs to change.

"The home-brewers aren't moon shiners," says Bob Parker of the Railway Brewing Compnay. "These aren't guys and girls in the backwoods that are creating beer to dodge and tax revenue guys. I don't think brewing beer at you're house is going to hurt the distributors, the brewers, or people like us- we brew beer here."

There still are some restrictions to homebrewing in the proposed bill. For example, only beer and wine can be homemade. Making Vodka, Bourbon, Whiskey or any stronger alcohol is prohibited.

A similar bill was passed through the House last year, but did not get through the Senate.


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devildog83 said on Thursday, Feb 7 at 12:27 PM

Of all of the articles that have been published in the last couple of years on this topic, this has to have been the most poorly written. Very little effort given to tell the story and perhaps a little fear mongering sprinkled in for good measure. Fail!

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Snarkotron 3000 said on Sunday, Jan 27 at 11:44 PM

Gee, I wonder if there's any examples that lawmakers in Alabama could look at to understand the effect of homebrewing on the general population rather than just guessing. Oh, there's 48 other states where it's being done successfully? Nah, there couldn't possibly be any useful data there. They're better off if they don't try to rationalize the issue and just stick to their prejudices.

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Brewer said on Friday, Jan 25 at 1:43 PM

I'm a pro brewery who started as a homebrewer. I can tell you that it's much easier and cheaper for an underage person to convince an adult to buy beer than it is to make it. It would be foolish to go through the expense and time to make beer if all you're after is an easy drunk.

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Average Joe said on Thursday, Jan 24 at 7:47 AM

Gosh why would we need homebrew legalized! I need the government to tell me how to live! Every little detail! Real Americans LOVE big big government telling them exactly how to live! What they can can can't do in their own homes! It's the American way! Just because every state has legalized it already (except Mississippi) doesn't mean we should! What about the children! Guns don't kill people! Homebrew kills people! Millions of 'em! Teeny tiny itsy bitsy babies! Oh save me big government! Save me!

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Jesus said on Thursday, Jan 24 at 7:20 AM

Are you telling me if I come back again and turn water into wine you'r going to charge me with a felony? Certainly looks that way. Those congressmen that voted against the homebrew amendment last year on religious grounds were obviously Muslims. The Christian bible doesn't ban alcohol. That's the Koran that does that.

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Doofus said on Thursday, Jan 24 at 6:48 AM

Yes, don't forget little bitty kids will start brewing. Itsy bitsy, teeny tiny kids. Pre-fetuses! Unfertilized eggs will start brewing! Then they will be HOOKED FOR LIFE! Prostituting themselves for that next sip of devil brew! Oh thank god ALCAP is here to SAVE us!!

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