Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

October 14, 2007

Beer Issues:

Homebrew For Humanity

Celebrate the anniversary of the law that helped spark the craft beer revolution.
by Jug Dunningan

Jug Dunningan is just here for the beer.
Contact Jug»
Twenty nine years ago today, October 14th, 1978, House Resolution 1377 (Senate Amendment 3534) was signed and put into effect by President Jimmy Carter. The great thing about this wasn't that the House of Representatives and the President could actually agree on something, but that this repealed a somewhat shady law prohibiting home brewing.

This law legalized the tax exempt home brewing of beer by persons 21 and older in amounts of 100 gallons per year (200 per household). This came 45 years after the repeal of Prohibition. In 1933 Congress had actually wanted to legalize home brewing, but a typo left a legal “loophole” when the drafter forgot to include “and/or beer” to a phrase that legalized winemaking at home. There was some immediate support for rectifying this, but lobby from commercial brewers and the ATF (so they could prosecute moonshiners before they actually started distilling) killed the movement.

In the 1970s independent-thinking Americans were tired of the crappy light beers offered by the commercial breweries and began a home brewing underground movement to obtain quality beer. Los Angeles’ “Maltose Falcons” began America’s first home brew club in 1974. Support for this new subculture grew and a push to make home brewing legal gained momentum. Led in no small part by Charlie Papazian (author of The Complete Joy of Home Brewing), the movement gained the support of Senator Cranston of California who argued, “Home brewers brew home beer because domestic beer lacks the rich malty taste they like. Home brewers share a creative desire to concoct beer to their own personal taste. They also share a consumer’s need to cook a tasty brew for the equivalent of 15 to 25 cents a quart.” After gaining the support of Senator Schmitt of New Mexico, Senator Bumpers of Arkansas, and Senator Gravel of Alaska, the famous resolution was proposed.

It is worth noting that although Jimmy Carter made it legal to home brew federally, he reserved the right for states to deny it. Despite having several home brewing stores across the state, it is illegal by state code (28-1-1) to home brew in Alabama. In Georgia home brewing is legal, but only in the reduced amount of 50 gallons per household per year.

The sudden impact of quality craft beers being available greatly changed the tastes and styles of beer in America. In 1983, America could only claim 81 breweries (large or small). By 1995 the craft beer revolution was running at full speed and America could boast over 500 breweries.

Whether you home brew or not, the result of Jimmy Carter’s wisdom in signing House Resolution 1377 directly affects what is in your mug today. This October 14th make sure to fill your glass with your favorite home brew or craft beer and drink to Jimmy, Charlie and the USA for their work in getting us where we are today.


Today is the feast day of St. Arnold, patron saint of beer.

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

Beer Dorks News

Want to know how healthy the craft beer industry is? As always, look to Portland. Craft pioneer Bridgeport announces sudden closure, adding to a growing list of PDX casualties.
Did Anheuser-Busch Chicago offer their shit beer to Cody Parkey before his missed field goal? Because that may explain why he "accidentally" biffed it.
Chicago now has the most breweries of any city in the country. Other things Chicago has the most of: murders, mobsters, and Ditkas.
Trying to spin it positive, BA releases end of year graphic. Only 5% growth in the craft sector when nearly 1000 new breweries opened? That's a collapse waiting to happen.
R.I.P. Tallgrass... another casualty as the regional/national craft beer market continues to get squeezed.
Wait... Constellation Brands cut all of the Ballast Point and Funky Buddha sales staff? They merged it with their Corona/Modelo staff?? We're SHOCKED!!!
Pizza Beer founder crying about failure of company, blames everyone else. Reminder, the beer tasted like vomit. Try having better ideas or making better products so you're not a failure.
It's Bud Light so doesn't really matter, but we expect this beer to be sitting around for awhile.
Indiana brewery to open with controversial beer names to "get the conversation going". Translation: taking advantage of serious issues for free publicity.
Hundreds of amazing beers in Wisconsin and the Cubs took back the one everyone drinks just because it exists and people have heard of it. How fitting...