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Northland Homebrewers Hoping For Legislation Changes

Updated: 03/31/2014 10:47 PM
Created: 03/31/2014 5:18 PM WDIO.com

Larry Johnson is a proud Grand Rapids community member with a love for the Wizard of Oz.

"I grew up in Grand Rapids next door to where Judy Garland was born," Johnson said.

Johnson also has a second love...homemade beer.

"I looked at all these big, shiny kettles and it kind of reminded me of the tin man's body," Johnson said.

Tin Man Brewing is set up in Johnson's basement. He's a proud homebrewer who would love to share his hops with the community.

"We're just frustrated we can't share any beer," Boreal Brewers President Steve Benson said.

Benson said current law prevents homebrewers from getting a liquor permit and sharing beer at public events.

"I can buy groceries, and turn it into a hot dish and take it to a potluck," Benson said. "That's kind of what we're asking to do with beer."

Benson calls the current state law vague. Benson said it states homebrew can be used for family use, but doesn't draw a clear line.

"Federal law already makes it legal to brew wine or beer at home, and leave the home for tastings and competition," Benson said.

The Minnesota homebrew bill would allow just that. It's part of the Senate's omnibus liquor bill, but it was not heard in the House committee.

"I would hope that it would be resolved in conference committee," Benson said.

You may be wondering if homemade beer is safe? Benson said between the acid, hops and alcohol homebrew can go safely from Johnson's basement to your mug.

The Boreal Brewers are asking people to contact their legislators about this bill.

The brewers are not looking to sell their beer, but simply share it with the community at public events.

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