Some folks have raised questions about the terminology of SB 444 and whether it covers wine, mead, sake and other things that people ferment. We haven’t sought any changes to definitions in existing law. Mainly that’s because the existing definitions seem to cover all these other beverages, and also because to our knowledge neither the OLCC nor anyone else has ever suggested these beverages aren’t covered. They all seem to fall under the definition of wine, in ORS 471.001:
“Wine” means any fermented vinous liquor or fruit juice, or other fermented beverage fit for beverage purposes that is not a malt beverage, containing more than one-half of one percent of alcohol by volume and not more than 21 percent of alcohol by volume. “Wine” includes fortified wine.
The law clearly covers homemade wine, and although in most of our communications we’ve used the words beer and homebrewing, the law addresses both. That language remains. For other things, the phrase “other fermented beverage fit for beverage purposes” covers an awful lot of ground. Mead, sake, dandelion wine, pretty much anything that ferments and is potable would be covered. Our approach to this effort has been to focus on fixing only the things that need to be fixed. Because people are counting on being able to resume competitions as soon as possible, we tried to avoid any major expansions of homebrewing privileges or changes that could draw opposition to the bill. In the case of mead, sake and other fermentables, it appears that the tent already is big enough to cover everyone without any new language.