Changing the Law
Homebrewers from several Oregon clubs are trying to change state law so it clearly permits the type of activities common among amateur brewers. We have contacted several legislators, and language now is being drafted for a bill to be introduced in the state Legislature in January 2011. We hope to line up additional sponsors and will seek support from the OLCC.
Our objective is a bill that:
- Makes it legal to transport homebrew
- Makes it legal to hold homebrew competitions, including awarding prizes
- Makes it legal to serve homebrew at club meetings and similar events
- Makes it legal to bring homebrew into licensed premises, such as brew pubs and breweries, that host club meetings and competitions.
As part of our outreach efforts to lawmakers, we are stressing several points. Among them is that the original federal legislation legalizing homebrew includes language that effectively addresses all these concerns. Oregon simply needs to adopt changes to bring state law into line with federal rules (federal law gives states the right to set their own rules on homebrewing). Also, this language is very similar to laws on the books in many other states. Our message is that all the proposed changes are in line with existing rules in other places; we’re not asking for anything beyond widely accepted rules governing homebrewed beer.
Our efforts at this point are focused on getting a bill drafted that addresses all our concerns. Proposed legislation must first be requested by a legislator and then goes to the Legislative Counsel’s Office, where language is drafted. It often takes several drafts before a final version is ready for formal introduction. We hope that by starting the process now we will have a bill ready on the day the Senate and House convene in January. It’s at that point that we will be reaching out to homebrewers and asking you to contact your legislators and let them know you support the bill.
We continue to stress that we are working with the OLCC to address this issue and that the situation came about because of the way Oregon’s homebrew law was written originally. This isn’t OLCC’s fault, and the agency has not opposed our efforts to update the law. Making angry or accusatory statements about the OLCC will only hurt homebrewers. Please help us by being part of the positive efforts to bring Oregon’s homebrewing law into the 21st century.