A bill pending in the Louisiana legislature could have major consequences on Bayou State homebrewers.
House Bill 503, which proposes the Louisiana Homemade Beer Law, would make the brewing of homemade beer for personal, family, domestic or household use exempt from any restraints covered in the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. The bill also proposes limits on how much beer can be produced per household each year and how much can be transported outside a household to local and national beer-tasting festivals and competitions. In addition, the bill proposes making the sale of homemade beer illegal. The bill was drafted by Rep. Michael Danahay, D-Sulphur.
Danahay seems to be on the side of homebrewers, wanting to clarify LA’s somewhat ambiguous homebrewing laws:
“It will give them some guidelines on the amounts of what they can produce and transport,” Danahay said. “We don’t want to get into a situation where they are stopped by law enforcement and get in trouble. We don’t want them to get caught in a quagmire. This gives them some protection.”
It’s always a little scary when politicians, even well-meaning ones, start writing laws that directly affect your hobbies. There are parts of this bill which worry some homebrewers.
The bill also places a limit on how much beer a person can transport from his or her home to local and national exhibitions, festivals, fairs and competitions that are recognized by the commissioner of alcohol and tobacco control. If passed, the law would allow five gallons to be transported to local events and twenty gallons to national events. Two gallons could be transported to events not recognized by the alcohol commissioner, according to the bill.
The American Homebrewers Association calls this “fairly restrictive” which seems understated to me. Hopefully this portion of the bill will be rewritten before (if) it becomes law.