Archive for February, 2011

SB 444 assigned to House Business and Labor Committee

Friday, 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
503-986-1439
rep.billkennemer@state.or.us

Mike Schaufler, Co-Chair
503-986-1448
rep.mikeschaufler@state.or.us

Margaret Doherty, Co-Vice Chair
503-986-1435
rep.margaretdoherty@state.or.us

Sal Esquivel, Co-Vice Chair
rep.salesquivel@state.or.us

Jason Conger
503-986-1454
rep.jasonconger@state.or.us

Val Hoyle
rep.valhoyle@state.or.us

Mark Johnson
rep.markjohnson@state.or.us

Greg Matthews
503-986-1450
rep.gregmatthews@state.or.us

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

Tuesday, 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

Monday, 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!!!!

Friday, 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.

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

SB 444 hearing likely to be avalible online

Wednesday, 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 http://www.leg.state.or.us/listn/ and pick Capitol Hearing Room B.

SB 444 Needs You

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

The beginning of the end of homebrew prohibition is at hand. The fix, SB 444, is making its way through the Legislature. But to get this done, and to get it done quickly, we need as many homebrewers, homebrew clubs, homebrew supply shops, professional brewers and other supporters to let the folks in Salem know we want them to vote for this bill. We want you to write letters, but we also need something compact but impressive to show we have a lot of people, businesses and organizations behind us. All we need to do that is your name. If you support this bill (and we sure hope you do), just let us know. Send us an e-mail telling us you want this bill passed, tell us your name, the name of your club, business or organization and where you’re at and we’ll add you to a list we’ll present to legislators to let them know who has our back.

We hope to have separate lists of clubs, businesses, organizations and individuals who want this passed. But you don’t have to be a homebrewer or member of the homebrew community to support this bill. Anyone who appreciates the ability to pursue our hobbies and other interests in a responsible way without government supervision or interference in invited to sign on. We appreciate your help.

Send an e-mail to any of the OHBA organizers and we’ll get you on the list. The organizers are:

Ted Hausotter, ted@oregonhomebrewersalliance.org
Denny Conn, denny@oregonhomebrewersalliance.org
Chris Hummert, chris@oregonhomebrewersalliance.org
Greg Bolt, greg@oregonhomebrewersalliance.org

Who we are

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

The Oregon Home Brewers Alliance exists thanks to the work of many people who are committed to seeing that the current interpretation of the state’s homebrew law is replaced with something that actually makes sense. Four of us got in on the ground floor of this effort and have been trying to keep the train on the rails.

Ted Hausotter, ted@oregonhomebrewersalliance.org, has been leading our effort since the beginning. A member of the Good Libations brew club in Baker City, he was one of the first homebrewers to recognize the need to rewrite Oregon’s homebrew law.

Denny Conn, denny@oregonhomebrewersalliance.org, is a noted homebrewer (Mr. Rye IPA) and a member of the American Homebrewers Association governing committee. He’s also the tech czar for the Cascade Brewers Society in Eugene.

Chris Hummert, chris@oregonhomebrewersalliance.org, is Vice President of the Oregon Brew Crew, the largest and most active brewing club in the state, if not the Northwest. He handles all our Internet and website issues and is an invaluable contact with the professional brewing industry.

Greg Bolt, greg@oregonhomebrewersalliance.org, was until recently the newsletter editor for the Cascade Brewers Society. He does much of the writing for the website and other OHBA communications and is our liaison to Sen. Floyd Prozanski, lead sponsor of SB 444.

AHA action alert

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Dear AHA and Support Your Local Brewery Members,

Many of you are likely aware that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission determined last year that under existing Oregon law, homebrew cannot be consumed outside the home where the beer was produced.

The American Homebrewers Association is supporting an effort by the Oregon Home Brewers Alliance (OHBA) to resolve this issue. The OHBA has been working with Senator Floyd Prozanski, a homebrewer, on Senate Bill 444 along with the already filed amendments to SB 444. While there are other bills addressing homebrewing, the OHBA and the AHA support SB 444 as the most comprehensive of these in restoring to legality all of the activities homebrewers participated in prior to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s revision of their interpretation of homebrew law last year, including entering homebrew competitions and sharing homebrew at club meetings.
How Can You Help?

Senate Bill 444 will likely be scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee sometime next week. We ask you to take a few minutes to call or email the members of the committee and politely urge them to support the passage of SB 444 along with Senator Prozanski’s amendments to the bill. The committee members need to hear from you if this bill is to succeed. Contacting legislators is quick and easy, and every contact they get from homebrewers will help ensure our success.


Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee Contact Information:

Sen. Lee Beyer, Chair
sen.suzannebonamici@state.or.us
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1706

Sen. Jason Atkinson, Vice-Chair
sen.jasonatkinson@state.or.us
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1703
District Phone: 541-282-6502

Sen. Ginny Burdick
sen.ginnyburdick@state.or.us
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1718

Sen. Chris Edwards
sen.chrisedwards@state.or.us
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1707

Sen. Fred Girod
sen.fredgirod@state.or.us
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1709
District Phone: 503-769-4321

Sen. Bruce Starr
sen.brucestarr@state.or.us
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1715
District Phone: 503-352-0922

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.

Hearing date!

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

We now have a hearing date before the Senate Business, Transportation
and Economic Development Committee: Thursday, Feb. 10. Details to
come. These things can change, but right now we’re on the docket.

This is an important step. We really need to get people to start
sending letters and e-mails to the committee members as well as their
own representatives and senators. It’s important to let them know we
have support for SB 444. Please spread the word far and wide. The
committee members’ info is posted on http://www.oregonhomebrewersalliance.org.
You can get info for your legislators at http://www.leg.state.or.us/.

It’s possible we will get a quick vote in committee and move to the
full Senate soon after the hearing. That’s why it’s important for
people to contact their legislators as well as committee members. If
we pass the Senate, then it’s on to the House.

Please note that we have (or had) an error for Sen. Lee Beyer’s e-mail
on the website. The correct address is:

sen.leebeyer@state.or.us

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