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Is It Legal to Brew Your Own Beer?

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. | Last updated on

Though making moonshine can still get you arrested in many states, as of last year brewing your own beer is legal in all 50 states.

Alabama and Mississippi were the last two states to lift their prohibition on homebrewed beer, but finally relented after years of lobbying, reports Business Insider.

But before you set to work on brewing up your own king of beers to rule your home castle, there are a few things to keep in mind.

What's Brewed at Home May Have to Stay at Home

Under the Code of Federal Regulations, homebrewed beer can be removed from the premises where it was made for "family use including use at organized affairs, exhibitions or competitions such as homemaker's contests, tastings or judging." However, some states have their own laws forbidding homebrews from being quaffed anywhere but the house where they were made.

You Can't Sell Your Beer Without a License

You also won't be able to sell any of your beer to anyone else without getting a license, or several licenses depending on what state you live in. In some cities, you may end up boldly going where no homebrewer has gone before. "We had to get two new city laws passed to allow us to sell growlers because the license we needed didn't even exist," Vine Park Brewing Co.'s Andy Grage told All About Beer Magazine in 2010.

Your State May Have Strange Homebrew Laws

You might be noticing a trend. Although federal law makes it legal to homebrew beer, each state has its own peculiar rules regarding homebrew methods, licenses, and even ingredients. In Idaho, the statute authorizing homebrewing of beer for personal use includes the phrase "from native grown products." Given a strict interpretation of this law, if you brew your beer in Boise using hops from Oregon, you're violating the Idaho statute.

But beyond getting up to speed on your local and state laws, homebrewing is a great way to learn about the ancient science of brewing beer. That being said, delicious results are definitely not guaranteed.

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