Homebrew ban

Utah city ordinance reminds citizens home beer making illegal in state

Aug 30, 2005 - Because the state of Utah has not legalized homebrewing, one city is drafting a ban to make it clear homebrewing is illegal.


"We haven't had any problems with homebrewing in our city, but under state law it is illegal and we just wanted to make that clear," said South Salt Lake City Attorney David Carlson.

The state legislature last considered legalizing homebrewing, as most of the nation have, seven years ago - but the effort died in committee.

"Under state law, nothing precludes the sale of homebrewing and wine-making equipment," said Earl Dorius, regulatory director of Utah's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC). "But once the equipment is put to use, there's a technical violation of the law. We don't have a good answer for you if you want to do home production."

In fact, many stores in Utah sell homebrewing equipment and supplies. "Our business is thriving," said Jamie Burnham, manager of the Beer Nut, which has been open for more than a decade. "More and more people have become interested in the hobby. You can't buy what you can make, and the creative nature of what you can brew at home is what intrigues people."

South Salt Lake officials say they merely want to rework their ordinance is to mirror state law.

"It's not something South Salt Lake intends to police," Carlson, the city attorney, said. "There's no plan to hunt for people who are home-brewing."

However, Mayor Wes Losser, didn't sound as amiable. "I don't care what people do in their own homes as long as it doesn't spill out into the public," he said. "But if there were problems related to homebrewing, such as people going blind or a small riot breaking out, we have to think in extremes to cover all the bases."

As a matter of fact, going blind isn't a threat to homebrewers. Home distiller who fail to separate methanol from ethanol while making spirits have gone blind (and some even died).