Mississippi Finally Legalizes Homebrewing
March 26, 2013 - 1:40 PM- by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog -
Today the American Homebrewers Association happily announced that the state of Mississippi has legalized homebrewing. A bill passed by the Mississippi Senate in February was just signed by Governor Phil Bryant and is now law. Homebrewers are no longer criminals. Mississippi is the 49th state to legalize homebrewing. See the complete press release below. In Alabama it is still illegal to brew your own beer.
It comes as a surprise to many people to learn that homebrewing was illegal in the United States until 1979. Well, that's not exactly true. As I understand it, following Prohibition homebrewing was not specifically illegal, but all brewers were required to pay federal excise tax and post a penal bond, which made homebrewing prohibitively expensive. Basically, it was not illegal, but it was not realistically legal either. I'm sure someone will clarify the issue if my understanding is not sound.
Here is the press release from the American Homebrewers Association:
Mississippi Passes Bill to Legalize Homebrewing
Boulder, CO ● March 19, 2013 – The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) is pleased to announce that Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has signed a bill that will effectively legalize homebrewing throughout the state. Mississippi is now the 49th state to permit homebrewing. A Senate version of the bill passed in early February and it was then voted on by the State House of Representatives in March.
“From our founding fathers to our current President, this country has a long and storied tradition of homebrewing,” said Gary Glass, director of the American Homebrewers Association. “We appreciate the support of all of the homebrewers, the dedicated grassroots efforts of Raise Your Pints and the legislators who have worked so diligently to make homebrewing a reality in Mississippi. We are grateful to Senator John Horhn who introduced this bill and to Governor Bryant for his quick action and support.”
The 21st Amendment predominantly leaves regulation of alcohol to the states. Therefore, even though homebrewing is federally legal, it is still up to individual states to legalize homebrewing in state codes. Prior to today’s announcement, Mississippi and Alabama were the only two states that did not allow homebrewing. The AHA will continue working with homebrewers in Alabama to legalize homebrewing.
The hobby of homebrewing has seen exponential growth in recent years. The AHA estimates that more than 1 million Americans brew beer or make wine at home at least once a year. Mississippi is home to an estimated 2,200 homebrewers who may now enjoy brewing without the restrictions of a state-wide ban.
From left to right: Gary Glass, Director of American Homebrewers Association; Senator John Hohrn; Craig Hendry, President of Raise Your Pints