— MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is moving closer to ending its distinction of being the only state prohibiting home brewing of beer and wine.
The Senate Job Creation and Economic Development Committee voted 3-2 Wednesday for a bill to legalize home brewing. The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Mac McCutheon of Capshaw, passed the House 58-33 on April 2 and now goes to the Senate for a final vote.
The committee chairman, Republican Paul Sanford of Huntsville, voted for the bill and predicted it has "a fairly good chance" of becoming law. Sanford said he has military personnel and defense industry employees in his district who brewed beer as a hobby before moving to Alabama, but they can't do it now because they would lose their government security approvals if arrested.
The executive director of the church-based Alabama Citizen Action Program is trying to make sure the bill doesn't pass. Joe Godfrey said the bill follows new laws in recent years that allowed larger and stronger beers, as well as Sunday alcohol sales in some cities. He predicted the continuing deregulation of alcohol will lead to more alcohol abuse.
Alabama and Mississippi used to be the only states that outlawed home brewing, but Mississippi recently changed its law to permit the practice. The Alabama legislation limits the amount home brewers can produce and prohibits them from selling their beer and wine.