I was always able to do quite a bit of homebrewing of beer before moving to Birmingham, Alabama in 1998. I came to the state for work, then got married, had kids, and now I’m a regular, call it home, and don’t plan on moving out of state ever again. Alabama is great, but I was frustrated from the start by not being able to engage in my hobby of homebrewing!
Homebrewing was illegal in the state of Alabama until 2013, and while I was perfectly content to enjoy standard beer and craft beer, and was never fully engaged in the kind of no-holds-barred, all-out homebrewing that some of my friends did, I still missed the freedom to brew the occasional 5 gallon concoction of my own!
That never stopped a good many Alabama homebrewing hobbyists though. Prior to the legalization of homebrewing in Alabama, AlaHomeBrewing.org noted statistics gathered by the American Homebrewers Association estimating that some 5000 home brewers existed in any given year in Alabama prior to legalization. In other words, homebrewing hobbyists were going to brew at home, come hell or high water! The good news now is that you don’t have to hide from the proverbial revenuers any longer! You are free to cook up your magical mixes without the threat of some federal agent kicking in your door. It’s now legal in Alabama to engage in the fabled home brew!
The battle for this freedom was hard fought, and victory certainly didn’t come easy. There were small efforts here and there for many years, but it wasn’t until 2008 or so that a strong, grass-roots effort began in earnest to legalize the hobby of homebrewing of beer and wine. That grass-roots effort caught legs, and finally in 2013 found success. It’s now been almost eight months of that blissful success! With legalization now certain in Alabama, that means that homebrewing is now legal in all 50 states! Yes, that’s right – up until recently only Alabama and Mississippi were the lone holdouts.
To quote the folks over at AlaHomeBrewing.org, who helped fight the good fight…
On May 9, 2013, Governor Robert Bentley signed Representative Mac McCutcheon’s HB9, the Alabama Homebrew Bill, into law. Homebrewing is now legal in Alabama! Thanks go to McCutcheon, Senator Bill Holtzclaw, and every other legislator who stood in strong support of Homebrewing over the past five year; and especially to all of you, the thousands of supporters who made this grassroots effort successful.
So if you live in the beautiful state of Alabama, and you’ve been brewing nervously for years, relax! You’re legal now! If you’ve always wanted to wade into the homebrewing hobby, perhaps now is the time. It’s fun, can range from very inexpensive to very expensive depending on your budget, and most importantly affords you the opportunity to enjoy good craft beer without breaking your bank. I support local breweries here in Alabama, so I don’t home brew to the exclusion of buying their lovely beers, but my own casual homebrewing saves me quite a bit of money.
Soon, I’ll have a simple tutorial on how you can begin the satisfying hobby of homebrewing of beer. Until then, let’s pat ourselves on the back Alabama! The freedom to homebrew our own craft beer is a reality, and now there’s a bit of bliss in palates all over the state.