SB444 Signed by the Governor!

March 29th, 2011

SB444 Signing

SB444 was signed into law on Monday, March 28th at approximately 3:45 PM. Once again it is legal to transport homebrew and have contests. Many thanks to everyone that worked so hard on getting it passed. In the picture to the left you can see (from left to right)Senator Floyd Prozanski, Chris Hummert (from the OHBA and Oregon Brew Crew), Governor John Kitzhaber, Denny Conn (OHBA and Cascade Brewers Society), Greg Bolt (OHBA and Cascade Brewers Society) and Ted Hausotter (OHBA and Good Libations brew club).

The day got started off by having the members of the OHBA meet up at Senator Prozanski’s office. There we got word that the signing ceremony was still on, but we didn’t know if we were going to be able to drink with the Governor after. We made our way down to the ceremonial office and waited for the governor to arrive. In the office you could see that the bill was on the desk already and it was just waiting to be signed

SB444 waiting to be signed

After a few minutes the governor arrived and told us that he was looking forward to signing this bill all day long. He introduced himself to all of us and was quite friendly. He then asked us how the group got started and we gave him the story about how we teamed up with Senator Prozanski and worked with the homebrewing clubs throughout the state to come up with a law that addressed all the issues we were faced with. After he said “well let’s fix this thing” and he signed the bill into law.

He signed the bill with 4 pens and each one was given to the members of the OHBA. The governor didn’t have time to have a beer with us after, but we all went back up to Senator Prozanski’s office and popped open a couple of celebratory homebrews.

From left to right: Chris Hummert, Ted Hausotter, Denny Conn, Senator Floyd Prozanski and Greg Bolt


Once again thanks goes out to everyone that works so hard on getting this law changed.  In review SB 444 allows the following:

● Eliminates the restrictions on the transportation of homebrew
● Eliminates the restrictions on where homebrew can be consumed
● Eliminates the restrictions on where homebrew can be made
● Allow clubs to charge dues
● Allow entry fees and prizes at competitions
● Allow homebrew to be served at club meetings held at pubs or other licensed premises
● Allow homebrew club members to participate in small-scale professional brewing at pubs
● Allow people who teach homebrewing classes to be paid.

SB444 to be signed by the Governor on 3-28

March 22nd, 2011

SB444 is scheduled to be signed by the Governor on March 28th during a signing ceremony at 3:30pm.  We will provide pictures and details after the event. Congrats to everyone’s hard work on getting this bill created and passed!!!!!!

SB 444 passes in the House

March 16th, 2011
SB444 passes in the house

SB444 passes in the house

SALEM— Home brew competitions at the Oregon State Fair and local county fairs across the state will be back this summer following passage of SB 444, according to Oregon House Co-Speakers Arnie Roblan and Bruce Hanna.

The bill changes a prohibition-era law that was recently reinterpreted by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission that caused the Oregon State Fair to cancel home beer and wine events, including the 23rd annual Amateur Beer Competition, last year.

The Department of Justice opinion said that while Oregonians could brew beer and craft wine at home, they couldn’t share it beyond that.  SB 444 also clarifies that those who brew craft beer or wine at home can share it with friends and neighbors.

“This bill is a great example of legislators coming together to fix an unintended consequence of state liquor law. Local events should be able to feature local home brewers and this bill puts us back on the right track.” Co-Speaker Hanna said.

State Rep. Mike Schaufler (D-Happy Valley), Co-Chair of the House Committee on Business and Labor, thanked Senator Floyd Prozanski for his work on the issue.

“This bill stops in its tracks a misguided legal opinion that shut down competitions at fairs all over Oregon,” Rep. Schaufler said. “This legislation ensures that home brewers can share their products and that the growing craft beer industry gets a boost. The return of these competitions at local county fairs is welcome news for home brewers and their fans.”

Roblan said the bill made clear that a prohibition-era law used to shut down the competitions last year was not necessary in today’s regulatory environment:

“Oregonians can welcome the return of local home brew contests at the Oregon State Fair and in their local communities,” Co-Speaker Roblan said. “Craft brewers can now share their products with friends and be assured that they will not run afoul of Oregon law. This prohibition-era law should not have stopped these local competitions and we have fixed it.”

Rep. Bill Kennemer (R-Oregon City), Co-Chair of the House Committee on Business and Labor, added, “This is a great bill that restores the ability of home brewers to engage in a hobby and competitions that have become such a big part of Oregon’s home brew success. I am grateful for the home brewers and legislators who worked together to craft a solution, and am glad to see it pass the House will such a strong showing of support.”

SB444 moves to House Floor for vote

March 11th, 2011

The Oregon House of Representatives has scheduled a floor vote on SB 444 for Monday, March 14. This will be the final step of the legislative process before the bill goes to Gov. John Kitzhaber for his signature. It will become law as soon as it is signed. It is worth noting that more than a dozen bills are scheduled for a vote Monday, and SB 444 is last on the list. So it’s possible the vote will be carried over to the next session if time runs out. We’ll get out a post as soon as we know.

Thanks to everyone who’s helped get us this far. We do not know yet when the governor will sign the bill. It’s possible there will be a public ceremony, but if that can’t be arranged fairly quickly we’ll ask that the governor sign it without one to be sure entries for upcoming competitions can be accepted legally. Again, we’ll get the word out as soon as we know.

SB444 passes House Business and Labor Committee

March 7th, 2011

Team OHBA, led by Ted Hausotter and Sen. Prozanski, put in another stellar effort this morning and got SB 444 approved unanimously by the House Business and Labor Committee. This means the bill will be scheduled for a floor vote, possibly later this week or next week. We expect another landslide vote by the House, which will send the bill to Gov. Kitzhaber for his signature. The law will go into effect the moment the governor signs it. We don’t know how soon that will happen, but we have asked the governor’s office to hold a signing ceremony for the bill, and the OHBA team members hope to be there. It’s possible the governor’s schedule won’t have room for the ceremony, in which case we’ll ask him to sign it without a ceremony to ensure that competitions scheduled for April and May can go forward. Please tell anyone who hasn’t done so already to e-mail their state representative and urge them to vote for the bill. We’re almost there!

SB 444 assigned to House Business and Labor Committee

February 25th, 2011

Thanks to all of you who contacted your legislators on behalf of Senate Bill 444, which aims to expand the rights of homebrewers, whom are limited under current law to brewing and serving homebrew only at their residence. The Senate passed the bill unanimously Tuesday, February 22, and so it now moves on to the House.

The SB 444 has been assigned to the House Business and Labor Committee for a future hearing, which could come at any time.  The American Homebrewers Association and the Oregon Home Brewers Alliance (OHBA) urge you to take a few minutes to call or email the members House Business and Labor Committee and politely urge them to support the passage of SB 444. The committee members need to hear from you to help ensure this bill’s success.

In addition, if you have not done so yet, please also contact the Representative for your district and ask that they support SB 444. Contacting legislators is quick and easy, and every contact they get has an impact.

House Business and Labor Committee Contact Information:

Bill Kennemer, Co-Chair

Mike Schaufler, Co-Chair

Margaret Doherty, Co-Vice Chair

Sal Esquivel, Co-Vice Chair

Jason Conger

Val Hoyle

Mark Johnson

Greg Matthews

Thank you for your support of homebrewers, your action could make the difference in whether or not this legislation becomes law. Please forward this message on to any other Oregon residents that you feel would be interested in supporting this bill.


Senate clears the way for home brewers, winemakers to share and compete

February 22nd, 2011

SALEM – The Senate passed legislation this morning that will allow amateur beer and wine makers to share their products outside their homes and to enter amateur competitions. SB 444 was crafted in response to an Attorney General’s opinion that led to the cancellation of amateur homemade beer and wine competitions at the 2010 Oregon State Fair. That cancellation drew significant attention to how homemade beer and wine is treated in Oregon statute.

“I was shocked by last year’s ruling. My brew partner was extremely concerned because we brew at my house. Under current law, he would be subject to prosecution for transporting his portion home,” said Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), a home brewer since 1987 who has won recognition for his beer. “This bill addresses the problems in this outdated statute and frees the home brew from unnecessary and prohibitive limitations.”

As it stands, statute put into law in the 1930s does not allow Oregonians who make homemade wine or beer to transport their beverages for consumption at another private residence.  The statute also raises questions about whether receiving a prize at a homebrew competition or paying dues to a club counts as a financial payment for the beverage, which would require a license from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).

“Current law places an unreasonable limitation on a legitimate and popular hobby,” said Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland). “Many of Oregon’s famous craft breweries started with people making small batches in their homes. Home brewing and winemaking is part of Oregon’s unique character and this legislation will allow it to continue and grow.

SB 444 expands the exemption for homemade beer, wine, and fermented fruit juice from the Liquor Control Act.  The bill allows Oregonians to make, keep, store, transport, and consume homemade wine, beer, and fermented fruit juice. SB 444 also allows home brewers and winemakers to pay dues or event admission fees to participate in a club or an organization activity or event that includes tasting of homemade wine, beer, and fermented fruit juice.

Additionally, home brewers and winemakers can receive a tax deduction or credit for donating beer, wine, or fermented fruit juice to a nonprofit organization.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

Source: Oregon Senate Democrats Website

Help Advance SB 444

February 14th, 2011

Thanks to all of you who contacted the members of the Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee. Your efforts have paid off. After hearing testimony from AHA Director Gary Glass and Oregon Home Brewers Alliance (OHBA) members Chris Hummert and Denny Conn, the committee voted unanimously to pass Senate Bill 444, including the amendments to SB 444 supported by the AHA and OHBA, on to the full Senate for a vote. The bill aims to expand the rights of homebrewers, whom are limited under current law to brewing and serving homebrew only at their residence.

The Senate vote on SB 444 could come as quickly as this coming Thursday, February 17th. If the bill is passed by the Senate, it will move on to a House committee hearing and then on to a House vote. At this time, we ask that you contact both the Senator and Representative for your district and urge them to vote in favor of SB 444. Contacting your legislators is quick and easy (if you call, you will most likely speak with one of their staff members), and each contact from a constituent has an impact.

Thank you for your support of homebrewers, your action could make the difference in whether or not this legislation becomes law. Please forward this message on to any other Oregon residents that you feel would be interested in supporting this bill.

First Hurdle Down!!!!

February 11th, 2011
From Left to Right: Matt Radtke, Denny Conn, Gary Glass, Chris Hummert

From the left: Matt Radtke, Denny Conn, Gary Glass, Chris Hummert

The first major hurdle in getting SB 444 passed has been cleared! Today the Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee heard testimony and held a work session on the bill.

Senators and Representatives always testify first. Representative Schaufler lent his support, Senator Boquist spoke about how he worked on SB 511, but was supporting SB 444 because it gave homebrewers all the rights they have been enjoying for so many years and Senator Prozanski spoke about his support of the bill and answered questions.

Then it was our turn. First to speak was Gary Glass, Director of the American Homebrewers Association. Gary’s testimony was focused on statistics from a national perspective including how many homebrewers, clubs and competitions exist in the US, the growth of homebrewing, the BJCP program and contest.

Representing the Oregon Brew Crew and the Oregon Homebrewers Alliance, Chris Hummert talked about what it meant to not be able to transport homebrew or hold competitions and the economic impact that has had on the businesses that support homebrewing. Chris discussed some of the contests around the state that were canceled last year and those that have been delayed this year in the hopes the law will pass. He wrapped up his testimony by explaining the importance of the homebrewing clubs and how they help homebrewers better their craft.

Denny Conn representing the Cascade Brewers Society and the Oregon Homebrewers Alliance spoke about groundswell of support from the homebrewing community that helped form this bill unlike other bills proposed this session. Denny provided a great description of the people and culture of homebrewing and more importantly that the homebrewers on the whole are not a fringe group of society. Also noted in his testimony was that the White House served homebrew at their superbowl party this year.

Representing small startup breweries, Matt Radtke from Gilgamesh Brewing spoke about his venture into a brewing business just over a year ago. Matt and his family were homebrewers for 15 years before starting a business. He talked about his experiences with homebrewing, competitions and the brewing community that allowed him to take the next step in his brewing hobby and become a professional brewer.

An OLCC representative was the last to testify at the hearing today. On behalf of OLCC, his message was of full support for the bill and that activities homebrewers and the homebrewing community engage in that are not commercial are very important to the state of Oregon.

Senator Beyer, Chair of the committee closed public testimony and opened a work session where they voted to pass the bill out of committee. Next stop is the Senate floor where it will be voted on. Assuming passage in the Senate, it will move to a the House. The Senate floor vote could happen as soon as next Thursday, February 16. Once passed it will move to a House Committee where it will go through the same process. After passage in the House it will go to the Governor to be signed. An emergency clause in the bill allows it to become law immediately upon signature of the Governor. If the pace set today is any indication, we may well have the bill signed by the end of March.

Gary Glass – Testimony for SB444
Chris Hummert – Testimony for SB444
Denny Conn – Testimony for SB444

SB 444 hearing likely to be avalible online

February 9th, 2011

The Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee hearing on SB 444 tomorrow will likely be avalible online. It’s tomorrow, 2/10 at 3PM. If you’re interested in watching, go to and pick Capitol Hearing Room B.

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