Wednesday, November 16, 2011

House Bill Passed And A Big Win For Michigan Homebrew Clubs

Written by  Josh Marenger
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/house-bill-passed-to-allow-Homebrew to be Served at Licensed Michigan Breweries For Homebrew Club Meetings Competitions

Last week, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed Michigan House Bill 4061, an amendment to the Michigan Liquor Control Code. What does this mean? In short, it allows homebrew clubs to hold meetings or competitions at establishments that have liquor licenses, including: brewpubs, breweries, bars, and beer stores. This was previously not allowed, even though some clubs flew under the radar and did it anyway.

Of course, there are some rules involved, including:

  • Beer samples are not to exceed 3 ounces, and wine/mead samples are not to exceed 2 ounces. It does not seem that there is a limit on the number of samples, however.
  • The beer/wine/mead/cider cannot be sold at the meetings, nor participants be charged for the sampling.
  • There must be a written agreement between the liquor license holder and the homebrewers/homebrew club stating the date/time/location of the event, as well as EITHER an acknowledgement from the liquor licensee that there will be unregulated alcohol served at their establishment and they assume responsibility, or proof that the homebrewers have acquired the appropriate bond/insurance for the event.

According to Chris Frey, AHA board member, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission has not provided a template for this agreement, so I've taken the liberty of writing one based upon their rules that is available here. Needless to say, this will be invaluable for homebrew clubs to have access to consistent and (presumably) free access to meeting space for events and competitions. I've spoken with several clubs that rotate between members' homes and they sometimes find it difficult to have successful meetings because many people are nervous about just showing up at someone's house. It's also beneficial to the hosts, since they often see an increase in beer and food sales. A huge thanks go out to homebrewer and House Representative Douglass Geiss for presenting this bill, as well as Chris Frey from the AHA for making this happen! The entire bill is available to be read here.