The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

June 4, 2013

Home brew law celebrated at Birmingham beer festival

(Continued)

However, there are still some laws that prevent a complete home-brew educational experience from happening, Overton said.

"We can teach home-brew classes, but we can't have the finished product in the store. We can't put the yeast in and have people taste what they've made."

This prevents home-brew competitions from taking place, as anything homebrewed cannot be sold or distributed for public consumption.

There are also still stringent laws controlling "brewpubs" in Alabama, which are breweries that brew beer on site and also serve food and drink. Brewpubs must be located in a historic or "economically distressed" district in a county that's been wet since before Prohibition, according to the Free the Hops website.

Although the Free the Hops organization hopes both of those restrictions will be removed next year, Overton said he's not complaining right now.

"It's amazing that the home-brew bill was passed and we've already got more people involved than I thought we would," he said.

Today, Overton says when people come to Hop City, he hears a much different tune than he did just one month ago.

"It's great to hear people come in from Georgia or Tennessee and look around the store and say, 'Wow. We don't have anything like this where we're from.'" He says. "For the longest time, it was the other way around."

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