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.

IL Homebrew Legislation On The Back Burner

Daily Herald reporter and friend of The Guys, Mike Riopell, wrote a good piece over the weekend updating us on the homebrew legislation introduced in the Illinois House a few months ago by State Representative Keith Farnham (D-Elgin).

The bill would allow homebrewers to showcase their beers at festivals in Illinois.

It’s something they’ve been doing for years until the Illinois Liquor Control Commission began cracking down on the practice – citing a rarely enforced law already on the books.

Farnham said he wouldn’t be calling the bill for a vote during the fall veto session or lame duck session in January. Instead, he’ll try to move the bill after the new General Assembly is sworn in on January 9th. On that date everything essentially resets in Springfield, meaning all legislation that was introduced over the last two years that didn’t become law will have to be drafted and filed again.

Farnham also said the legislation that he filed in late September is not the final product, which is good because – according to Riopell’s article – the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois is currently opposed to it.

“Alcohol is different from all other products,” Olson said. “It’s regulated differently.”

Olson says his group opposes the plan because, among other reasons, the home-brewed beer wouldn’t be subject to health regulations and the home brewers don’t have required insurance to protect from liability if someone gets drunk and later gets in a car accident.

“It’s not root beer,” Olson said. “It’s an intoxicating beverage.”

The ABDI has not shut the door completely on the legislation, Bill Olson did say he would be willing to work towards a compromised bill.

IL Homebrew Legislation Gaining Local & National Support

photo courtesy palebrewers.org

The suburban Chicago lawmaker sponsoring legislation to allow homebrewers to showcase their beers at festivals in Illinois now has over a dozen homebrew clubs and the American Homebrewers Association in his corner.

The legislation, as proposed, would tweak the Illinois Liquor Control Act to allow homebrew to be entered into festivals and competitions. The bill also goes to great lengths to define both a homebrewer and homebrewed beer.

Illinois homebrewers have taken part in festivals in the past, but in 2011 the Illinois Liquor Control Commission started cracking down on the practice.

The Joliet Herald News reports the AHA has been working with clubs across the state, and bill sponsor State Representative Keith Farnham, on the wording of the legislation – which was introduced in late September.

“Gary Glass, director of the Colorado-based American Homebrewers Association, also has been working with homebrewing groups in Illinois on the wording of the proposed legislation. Glass said he heard from 17 clubs in the state that have had input into the document.”

The AHA recently helped pass homebrew friendly legislation in Oregon and Wisconsin and is currently working with groups in Missouri and Kansas – along with Illinois – to do the same.

The earliest the legislation could be taken up is during the Fall Veto Session, which takes place during the last week of November and the first week of December.

HB 6299

Illinois Homebrew Legislation Filed In IL House

State Representative Keith Farnham (D-Elgin) has formally introduced legislation to allow Illinois homebrewers to showcase their beers at festivals.

Homebrewers in the state have been doing this for years, but this year the Illinois Liquor Control Commission began cracking down on the practice saying the Illinois Liquor Control Act prohibits homebrew from being shared outside of the home.

Here is the synopsis of the bill, which is HB 6299:

Continue reading

Suburban State Rep Working On IL Homebrew Legislation

Tucked away in a Southtown Star article is some rather significant news about a push by homebrewers in Illinois to showcase their beer at festivals across the state.

It’s something they’ve been doing for years – up until this year – when the Illinois Liquor Control Commission started cracking down on the practice citing laws that are currently on the books that allow homebrewers to share their beer in their home but not outside of it. Continue reading

Sparging The News: President Obama, Homebrewer?

When it merits, GuysDrinkingBeer will bring you the relevant, generally-Chicago-centric information about what you’ll be imbibing around town. Here’s what’s running through our Mash Tun of Information:

So, how was your Superbowl shindig? Ours? Oh, not bad – just a small social gathering with some Hopstoopid, a well-travelled Cigar City Jai Alai IPA and a similarly well-traveled offering of Holy Mackerel and a Yazoo Brew as well. Not that we’re bragging or anything, but those paired awfully well with the multiple pans of BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos and our Upscale Nachos Bel Grande we made for the gathering.

Photo credit to Pete Souza/White House and Obama Foodorama.

One thing we were lacking was some homebrew made especially for the event. If we were on the guest list for the White House Superbowl Party, that would not have been an issue. If the phrase “President Obama, Homebrewer” never entered your head before today, wrap your brain around this:

In a special turn of events in the history of White House food creations, one of the White House chefs has brewed White House Honey Ale, a White House aide exclusively tipped ObFo. It uses one pound of honey from this year’s 160-pound harvest of honey from the White House Bee Hive, which sits beside Mrs. Obama’s South Lawn Kitchen Garden.

ObFo is Obama Foodorama,* and they’re reporting today on the introduction of some homebrew to the White House. The White House Honey Ale was served alongside Hinterland and Yuengling, representing each team’s native beers. We like Yuengling well enough, but no Iron City, huh? How about some Senator Keg beer, effectively renamed “Obama” in Kenya? Anyways. Continue reading