Yesterday, Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. of Utah signed into law legislation that makes homebrewing beer legal. The “Exemption for Alcoholic Beverage Manufacturing License” was sponsored by Representative Christine A. Johnson and made Utah the 46th state to legalize homebrewing. The US Government made homebrewing legal on a federal level in 1978. Since then all but four states; Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Oklahoma have made homebrewing legal.
From left: The Jamie Burnham, Beer Nut manager; Allen Sanderson, AHA member; Mark Alston, The Beer Nut Owner; Christine Johnson, Representative; Gary Glass, AHA Director; and AHA members Douglas Wawrzynski and Nicole Salazar.
“Home-brewing is a healthy and vibrant hobby in Utah as evidenced by the outpouring of support HB 51 received in the 2009 Legislature,” commented Rep. Christine A. Johnson. “Many thanks to the American Homebrewers Association for thorough education, great committee testimony and association members who flooded elected officials with emails of support.”
But it’s not just homebrewers who are excited about the change. Jennifer Talley, brewmaster for Squatters Pub Brewery/Salt Lake Brewing Co in Salt Lake City, says the relationship between professional and amateur brewers has always been a tight one and legalizing homebrewing will allow this relationship in Utah to evolve and grow.
“Homebrewing is truly an art and most professional brewers I know were once homebrewing in their kitchen. Utah beer enthusiast will now have the freedom to express their deepest beer desires through perfecting the craft of homebrewing in their own kitchens,” says Talley.
The American Homebrewers Association estimates that there are approximately 750,000 homebrewers in the United States, including 7,000 homebrewers residing in Utah. Utah is the only state to have legalized homebrewing in the last ten years.
“With the successful passage of HB 51, Utahns can confidently assemble into homebrew clubs and organize competitions,” states the Utah law student Douglas Wawrzynski, who launched this most recent attempt to legalize homebrewing. “Utah homebrewers are finally free to relax, stop worrying, and have a legal homebrew.”
“It has been an honor to work with the homebrewers of Utah to help legalize homebrewing in their state,” says Gary Glass, Director of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA). “I can think of no greater cause for the American Homebrewers Association to take on than ensuring all Americans can legally brew at home.”
There is currently an active movement to legalize homebrewing in Alabama, and the AHA has heard from homebrewers in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Oklahoma who are interested in starting movements in each of those states.