Is It Legal To Brew Beer At Home? [US & UK]

Is It Legal To Brew Beer At Home

Doing legal research is crucial when it comes to home brewing. If you are concerned about the legality of brewing beer at home, you have come to the right place. There was a time when even speaking of the art would result in legal consequences. In 1920, when prohibition began, homebrewing was considered a crime and, therefore, not allowed to be practiced.

However, those days were far removed after October 14, 1978, an important milestone in the history of homebrewing. On this date, the efforts of President Jimmy Carter proved fruitful and legalized for individuals to brew beer at home.

Nevertheless, all good things take time, and so did this law, as it only became effective a year later in 1979.

Why Should You Brew Beer at Home?

The simplest answer to this question is – avid beer drinkers enjoy a great beer but great beers do come at a cost. Brewing beer at home is an excellent approach to enjoying that great beer and saving a lot of money in the process.

Moreover, you can even go as far as brewing your very own homemade wine. However, legality is always a question, and therefore, this article will put the laws of the UK and US under the microscope to check if it is legal for you to brew beer at home.

Homebrewing Laws in the US

These days, everyone is jumping on the DIY everything ride, and there’s no limit on it. Certainly, in this digital era, it is quite easy to learn everything and anything you need with the help of the greatest mentor of all time, the internet.

You could have different reasons to brew your beer at home. Maybe you want to show off your craftsmanship, or you are just a devoted learner. In the end, it shouldn’t be that easy, given that you probably have prior experience with enough ales and lagers to know what combination of ingredients would make the finest of beers.

The only complication is that laws regarding homebrewing vary from state to state. For instance, the laws in Alabama are rather complicated. That is to say, it is completely legal to brew beer at home, but you must not distill your alcohol under any circumstances. 

On the other hand, Alaska is the state with the friendliest laws regarding homebrewing. That is to say, you can brew beer at home without any restrictions, and there is also no limit on how much you can produce for yourself.

Now, if you take a look at California, they have a limit on the number of gallons, i.e., only 100 gallons of beer annually without any permit or licenses. In addition, you must be of age 21 years or older.

It can be seen that most states have legalized homebrewing, but laws regarding quantity and procedures differ for each state.

The Complications and Realities of Brewing Laws in the US

According to 27 CFR 25.206, the law states that if you produce beer for personal or family use at any exhibition, competition, or even your premises, it must be removed from there. Meaning that wherever you brewed the beer, the premises are now restricted grounds for that beer.

However, there are states in the US that have laws that forbid the removal of alcohol from home, and it must only be consumed in the house where it was made and nowhere else. Hence, it shows that some laws may contradict each other, but you will be obligated to comply with the state laws.

In addition, you are not allowed to sell your production without first availing of a license or multiple licenses, depending on your location. The best way to know the right move would be to follow up with the American Homebrewers Association, which exists for the sole purpose of engaging with various government laws on brewing on behalf of the beer-loving community.

Homebrewing Laws in the UK

Just like the US and the rest of the world, the UK also prohibited brewing beer at home. Nevertheless, if you wanted to homebrew beer in the UK before 1963, you would be required to either pay a generous sum to the government or do it with complete discretion.

After the legalization of homebrewing in the UK, the particular DIY started booming, and many Britains took their shot at mastering the craft and producing delicacies for self-consumption.

Without a doubt, the UK is quite easygoing when it comes to laws surrounding brewing your beer. There is virtually no limit to how much you can brew. But there is a condition that states it must be only for your consumption and not sales. In addition, you can even distill your spirits at home, but for that, you require a license from an issuing authority.

Know Your Rights When It Comes to Brewing in The UK

The first and most important fact to know is – unlike the US and other countries, there is no limit on how much beer you can produce for your consumption. If you are someone with a knack for whiskey, the bad news for you is that you cannot brew whiskey without first acquiring your brewing license from the UK Revenue and Customs Office.

You will further be required to acquire a different license for every premise that you will be dedicating to brewing. You can check the UK official government website to check the form and required documents.

Moving forward, you are also strictly forbidden from selling beer or wine that you have brewed at home. The critical point here is that selling refers to the act of consuming beer outside the premises. This means even if you just take a few bottles off the premises with your friends, you are breaking the law.

Final Thoughts

The UK and the US both legalized homebrewing in the years 1963 and 1979, respectively. This means that you can set up a premises at home and start brewing your beer. However, as highlighted in the article, the state laws vary slightly from the general laws surrounding beer brewing at home.

In some of the US states, you cannot produce more than 100 or 200 gallons annually for your consumption. In addition, there are laws regarding the type of alcohol you may produce. On the contrary, the UK has no limits to the quantity you can produce.

One thing both countries have in common is that you cannot sell what you brew, nor can you consume it outside the premises where you produce it. In the event you want to sell your beer, you are first required to acquire your license.

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