The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

June 4, 2013

Home brew law celebrated at Birmingham beer festival

(Continued)

The home-brew bill, sponsored by Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville, allows those 21 or older to make up to 15 gallons of beer, wine, mead or cider every three months for personal use. Until May 9, Alabama was the only state in the U.S. that did not allow home-brew.

Since then, Hop City has seen a 15 percent increase in business thanks to sales of home-brew kits and supplies.

"Trying to operate without that 15 percent for the last 10 months has been a challenge," Overton said. "But now we're teaching home-brew classes on Saturday, and things are booming-- and the sky's the limit for our students."

People learning the ins and outs of home-brew today may well be opening their own breweries in Alabama one day soon, Overton said.

"The beer industry really creates a lot of jobs for this state," he said. "This industry is growing at a time when not many industries are growing."

Overton cited Below the Radar, Blue Pants and Good People as local beer brands that may branch out to become regional -- or even national -- beer brands within a few years thanks to the attention and support Alabama's beer industry has gained in recent months.

Eric Meyer, managing partner at Cahaba Brewing Company, said this is his brewery's second year to attend Brewfest, and he's thrilled that the aspiring home-brewers he meets today won't have to worry about breaking the law to enjoy their craft.

"My business partners and I, we were just three guys who were home-brewers, and yes, we learned our craft illegally," Meyer said. "But we were able to find the equipment and grow. It's wonderful that home-brewers in the state today can be open and honest about their passion."

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