How to Help
Once a bill to change the law is introduced, we’ll be asking clubs and homebrewers to support it by writing, calling or e-mailing their legislators. We ask you to be positive, show that homebrewers are responsible drinkers and good citizens of their communities and point out that the proposed changes simply update Oregon law and bring it into line with the laws in other states.
Legislators want to hear what their constituents think. But they tend to pay more attention to individual messages than to form letters, so for the time being we don’t plan to post a sample letter that people would simply copy and add their names to. Below you will find some talking points to help express your support for changing the current law.
Even though we don’t yet have a bill, we encourage you to write letters now expressing your support for changes to the homebrewing law. Please say that you want changes that will make it legal to (1) transport homebrew, (2) hold homebrew competitions and award prizes, (3) serve homebrew (at no charge) at club meetings and similar events and (4) allow homebrew to be consumed (at no charge) at events held at licensed premises, such as brewpubs and breweries, that sponsor contests, club meetings and similar events. Also, the law should allow homebrew clubs to charge dues and homebrew competitions to award prizes without constituting payment for alcohol.
In your contacts with legislators and the general public, it is important that you avoid criticizing the OLCC or other state agencies involved in the interpretation and enforcement of Oregon’s alcohol laws. They did not create this situation and have shown no ill will toward homebrewers. We can only succeed by showing that homebrewers respect the law.
The following link will take you to a page on the state Legislature’s website you can use to find your legislators. Once we have a bill introduced, you will be able to use the “Bills/Laws” tab on this website to track its progress.
We will soon add a feature to the website allowing you to sign up for e-mail alerts so we can keep you up to date on developments and let you know when to contact legislators to voice your support. Look for that option soon.
Talking points for legislative letters
In working with the AHA on this issue we have learned that personal letters have a much greater impact than a pre-written chain letter. Below you will find some points that will help you write a simple letter to your legislators. The list is not intended to be sent as presented or without adjustment to make your letter read well. Find those that are important to you and use them to craft your own letter. Be sure to send it to both your state senator and representative. It is important to send letters before the next legislative session begins in January and again during the session. Sign up for e-mail alerts so you know when we need your support. Let’s get this fixed during the next session; we will need every homebrewer’s support!
- I am extremely disappointed that the Oregon State Fair canceled the homebrewed beer and wine competitions.
- I am upset by the recent interpretation of the current law by the OLCC even though the agency has never had issues with homebrew contests.
- Oregon is now the only state in the Union that cannot hold a homebrew competition, after holding them without problem for more than 20 years. This is ludicrous for a state that is known as a beer mecca.
- Receiving a pint mug as a prize when my beer wins a competition should not be considered cash payment for beer.
- Receiving a ribbon when my beer wins a competition should not be considered a cash payment for beer.
- Some homebrew competitions offer more substantial prizes for the Best of Show in a competition (a piece of brewing equipment, for example). That should not be considered cash payment for alcohol.
Transportation of homebrew
- It seems unreasonable that we cannot bring a homebrew to a friendly gathering at a neighbor’s house.
- I am concerned that I cannot legally bring a bottle of homebrew to Grandma’s house for Christmas dinner because of our current laws.
- I would like to have my beer professionally examined and cannot take it to a lab for analysis because of our current laws.
- I would like to be able to enjoy my homebrewed beverage at a park or similar place just as I can with a commercial beer or wine.
- I am concerned that educational events on homebrewing are now deemed unlawful. In the past, the American Homebrewers Association has held its annual convention in Portland. This a great learning opportunity for homebrewers — and an economic boon for the city — that now cannot return.
- It is disconcerting to learn that homebrew clubs cannot charge club dues and share homebrew without a special event license. Why are dues, which pay for club operations and not homebrew, considered a payment for alcohol?
- We are in favor of safe and legal consumption of alcohol.
- Homebrewers are very knowledgeable consumers of alcoholic products.