Home Brewing May Become Legal in Alabama
by Patrick Dever / ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR
Mar 04, 2010 | 11259 views | 10 10 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama is making efforts to legalize homebrewing. Homebrewing is currently federally legal.
Alabama is making efforts to legalize homebrewing. Homebrewing is currently federally legal.
slideshow
The brew kettle is the fourth unit in this six-step overview of brewing.
The brew kettle is the fourth unit in this six-step overview of brewing.
slideshow
After a batch of beer has been made it must sit for several weeks. It is bottled in traditional 12-ounce glasses or large gallon-sized jugs.
After a batch of beer has been made it must sit for several weeks. It is bottled in traditional 12-ounce glasses or large gallon-sized jugs.
slideshow
Editor's note: The photos have been changed because of misrepresenting content.

Alabama's alcohol laws are changing again.

Legislation was approved in the Alabama Senate legalizing home brewing of beer, wine and mead.

Republican Sen. Larry Dixon of Montgomery sponsored the bill, even though he said he was not a home brewer.

"There are home-brewing clubs around the state," Dixon said. "It's their hobby. They don't have a legal way to get their product to their tastings and their shows where they judge the best beer."

Dixon said home-brewing clubs brought this issue to his attention.

"It was an Auburn club that contacted me and asked me if I would introduce this legislation," Dixon said. "These are good tax-paying citizens that have a hobby that involves making a home-brew beer and some of them even make mead."

John Little, founder of the Auburn Brew Club, said this is a big step toward getting home brewing legalized in Alabama.

"We are one of three states where home brewing and the home-brewing hobby is not legal," Little said.

Part of the bill would allow home brewers to transport products to shows and competitions. "It says they can take up to 20 gallons to a tasting, a showing or a judging and it has to be done in a wet county and in a facility that has an ABC on-premises license," Dixon said.

The bill limits the amount of product for transportation, but a federal law has been in place limiting how much an individual can brew at home.

"There's a federal law that regulates it at 240 gallons a year," Dixon said.

Andrew Smith, junior in biochemistry, said he had never heard of the Auburn Brew Club, but as a home brewer he was interested.

Smith, president of Theta Xi fraternity, has been brewing beer for close to a year.

"I like a lot of the heavier and higher alcohol brews,” Smith said. “Not because it gets you drunk quicker, but because you get a lot better taste and it's a lot more full bodied."

Smith said he would like the chance to have some of his brews judged by professionals.

"My brew is for personal consumption,” Smith said. “If I have a couple friends over, they'll drink some.”

Smith suggested a company in Birmingham for anybody interested in starting to brew at home.

"There's a place called AlaBrew," Smith said. "They're amazing. They know what they're talking about and have been doing it all their lives."

Smith also said homebrewing is easier than people think, but can be time consuming.

"I couldn't believe how simple it was when I started," Smith said. "You have a five-gallon bucket, you have either a pre-made kit or your ingredients, you follow the recipe."

Little said the Auburn Brew Club has a Web site that chronicles the attempts to legalize home brewing in Alabama.

"There are two articles in particular," Little said. "One is called Alabama Home Brewing Legalization Part One, and then there's a part two. Those are two really good overviews of what's been happening so far."

Comments
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uhavegot2bkidding
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March 05, 2010
Fixed, you are apparently the editor, a staff member or perhaps Mr. Dever himself. Whoever you are, take a moment to look up the first amendment. You should probably be familiar with it if you are going to stay in the newspaper business. You should probably also learn to accept criticism in your line of work. Telling your readers to "Quit ur bitchen" only further highlights your incompetence. You really should consider changing your major.
Fixed
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March 05, 2010
They fixed their pictures... Quit ur bitchin
solution_fire_some1
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March 05, 2010
This is the fourth or fifth (textile building, street safety, etc.) article where the facts have been completely ignored and poor reporting has led to negative consequences for those exploited by this "newspaper".

Where is the leadership. I read Ms. Davidson's column where she insulted the readers who dared to comment negatively on articles and voice their concern. Is that who is editor? Where are the faculty who decided to make this buffoon editor??

In a real newspaper, not one pretending to be legit, an editor whose staff had failed this many times would be evaluated and most likely removed and asked to step down to say... covering the middle school sports beat.

You can say that I am a hater for some of the negative things I have posted, but find where I am wrong! As a concerned student at this school and in an age where technology has made EVERYTHING so available to the rest of the world, I am concerned for the image we are putting off. People across the state, southeast, country can look at our paper, especially now since they have bragged about their award. People are looking at this site.

I am concerned. If that makes me a dumbass or a "troll" then i guess I am guilty as charged. Don't we want our school publication to be respected not despised?

Call me crazy.

I call for an interim editor to be put in place of Ms. Davidson. Certainly there is someone more competent on that staff that can salvage what obviously she has squandered.

Just makes me sad. I love this school and want us to be the best around. This doesn't help that all.

I expect to be flamed by members of the staff posting on here, but I really don't care. Sometimes you have to say the things people don't want to hear and suffer their denialism and hatred because of it.

As an Auburn student I apologize to you John and the injustice done to your organization. I hope they can fix this, but continuing under the leadership they are currently under is not going to fix it.

Mark Allen
John Little
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March 05, 2010
I am just sickened that so many people (adults with kids and real jobs) have worked so hard to get this legislation to the point it is at now, only to have a sophmore rush job at a college newspaper blow a hole in our efforts. Maybe this letter to the editor will get published next week. I'm not sure it'll do much good at this point.

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To editor@theplainsman.com

I just read Patrick Dever's article on the home brewing legalization effort, and I'm really disappointed in his choice of illustrations, which depict liquor distillation. Home distillation is illegal federally and in all 50 states and is NOT something that Alabama home brewing and wine making hobbyists are seeking to legalize. Mr. Dever contacted the Auburn Brew Club via email the night before his noon deadline, and he was immediately provided a phone number and information about the Alabama homebrewing legalization bill and all the efforts that have been made so far. One of the things he could have read was the bill itself, which provides in part "Nothing in this section permits the production distilled liquors, such as bourbon, whiskey, rum, or vodka for personal use or otherwise." Mr. Dever finally called 30 minutes before his deadline. To illustrate the dangerous practice of distilling spirits in an article about the hobby of brewing of beer, wine, mead and cider was irresponsible and a misrepresentation of the difficult efforts that hardworking people have been making over the last few years in the Alabama Legislature. Mr. Dever obviously had no idea about the difference between distillation and the beer brewing process, didn't attempt to learn the difference and didn't realize how easily our neo-Prohibitionist opponents can grasp onto this article, published in a college newspaper, and use it against us in the Legislature. If the Plainsman desires to publish an article about homebrewing legalization efforts in the future, please get it right. We have an uphill battle as it is. We don't need misinformation to help kill our progress.

John Little

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uhavegot2bkidding
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March 05, 2010
Apparently this guy does not want to put any effort into researching before writing. He has completely misinformed the public. The editor should be ashamed for having let this slip in without having facts checked. I suggest that he be assigned to press releases and consider another major.
anothergoodone
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March 05, 2010
The plainsman is literally the worst thing I have ever seen.

I am embarrassed for them. I hear people are already quitting the paper trying to save their reputations.
John Little
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March 05, 2010
Too late. The paper has already been published and distributed. Next comes the fallout... our opposition waving this paper around in front of legislators as proof that college kids will be making moonshine. Disgusting.
Scott Oberman
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March 05, 2010
Plainsman, are you kidding me? Does anyone proof these articles or do any kind of fact verification? You may as well have a junkie shooting heroine pictured, because that is how far off the mark you are. All you had to do was Google homebrewing and you could find hundreds of accurate pics. Please update these pics right away.
Brant Warren
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March 04, 2010
Thank you, John, for your comment explaining the extremely inaccurate choices of photos and captions displayed in this article. As a typical homebrewer, I am left wondering where these photos were taken, as what they illustrate have nothing to do with beer making, and only have a purpose in federally-illegal distillation. Homebrewers across the state are taking significant risks by exposing ourselves to the homebrewing legalization effort that will make Alabama join 47 other states, and false implications such as these moonshining photos not only put us in danger, but jeopardize all of our hard work. Please remove or edit this article, or otherwise correct the insulting photographs.
John Little
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March 04, 2010
These are poor choices for pictures to illustrate this article. In no way are we attempting to legalize distillation. If you read the bill, you see it clearly excludes distilled spirits, the production of which is illustrated here. Who gave the idea that this effort was about legalizing moonshine? I'm sorry to have to say it, but this is very poor work and has the potential to harm our efforts.