Homebrew Legislation Passes IL Senate, Awaits Gov’s Signature

image courtesy Illinois Homebrew Alliance & Brew and Grow

image courtesy Illinois Homebrew Alliance & Brew and Grow

Legislation impacting homebrewers and homebrew shops in Illinois has cleared the Illinois Senate on a unanimous, 54-0 vote. The bill passed the House, also unanimously, last month.

The bill (HB 630) defines homebrewed beer, would allow homebrew to be consumed outside of the home it was brewed in and would also allow homebrewers to take part in contests and be included in festivals.

The legislation was introduced in response to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission’s crackdown on homebrewers taking part in beer festivals. The Commission gave homebrewed beer the boot from a Peoria beer festival last year saying current law only allows beer brewed at home to be consumed in the home.

The legislation also allows homebrew shops to hold classes and sample beer brewed by customers to help them tweak recipes and offer tips.

The homebrew shop portion of the legislation was hashed out by Brew and Grow’s John Beystehner while the Illinois Homebrew Alliance’s Peter J. Rzeminski II, of the PALE Homebrew Club, led the negotiations on the homebrewer portion. Both worked in conjunction with the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois to iron out any differences before the legislation was drafted.

Rzeminski II, in an emailed response to Guys Drinking Beer, says they are ecstatic the legislation has cleared both the House and Senate. “The IHA wants to thank all the members of the General Assembly for helping expand the rights of Illinois Homebrewers,” said Rzeminski II.

The legislation now awaits Governor Pat Quinn’s signature.

Illinois Homebrewing Legislation Amended To Include Homebrew Shops, Passes IL House ***UPDATED***

ilcapitol2***UPDATE***

4/17 – The bill passed the Illinois House unanimously, 118-0, and now heads to the Illinois Senate.

Here is the roll call vote on HB 630.

The Illinois Homebrew Alliance says, in a statement emailed to GuysDrinkingBeer, the bills passage is a big first step for homebrewers in the state.

“The IHA is extremely happy that our bill has passed the Illinois House! We want to thank each and every person that took the time to call their Representative; you all helped make this possible. We look forward to the upcoming vote in the Senate and the Governor’s signature!”

The IHA is hopeful the bill can pass the Senate and is signed into law on or before the American Homebrew Association’s Big Brew, on May 4th, which celebrates National Homebrew Day.

4/16 – The bill cleared the House Executive Committee Monday evening on a 11-0 vote and is poised for a vote on the House Floor as early as Wednesday.

***END UPDATE***

Once separate pieces of legislation addressing homebrewing and homebrew shops in Illinois, the two bills have become one under a proposed amendment to House Bill 630.

The bills were initially introduced by State Representative’s Keith Farnham (D-Elgin) and Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake), respectively. Tryon has now signed on as a co-sponsor to Farnham’s bill.

The legislation, as amended, defines homebrewed beer, would allow homebrew to be consumed outside of the home it was brewed in and would also allow homebrewers to take part in contests and be included in festivals.

“‘Homemade brewed beverage’ means beer or any other beverage obtained by the alcoholic fermentation of an infusion or concoction of grains, sugars, or both in water and includes, but is not limited to, beer, mead, and cider made by a person 21 years of age or older, through his or her own efforts, fermented at his or her place of residence, fermented at another place of residence of a homemade brewed beverage brewer, or fermented at a premises of a commercial enterprise that is engaged primarily in selling supplies and equipment for use by home brewers and not for a commercial purpose but for consumption by that person or his or her family, neighbors, guests, and friends or for use at an exhibition, demonstration, judging, tasting, or sampling with sampling sizes as authorized by Section 6-31 of this Act or as part of a contest or competition authorized by Section 6-36 of this Act.”

John Beystehner, with Brew and Grow, tells GuysDrinkingBeer the homebrew shop portion of the legislation was drafted to ensure shops like his could help fledgling homebrewers.

“Homebrewing can be an intimidating hobby when first getting into it and by allowing homebrew supply stores to offer classes and samples within their stores we can show customers how easy homebrewing can be and the quality of beer that can be produce[d] at home,” said Beystehner.

The homebrew shop legislation was hashed out by Beystehner while the Illinois Homebrew Alliance led the charge on the homebrewer bill. Both groups worked in conjunction with the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois to iron out any differences before the legislation was drafted.

The bill is tentatively scheduled before the House Executive Committee this evening.