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Washington Homebrewers Association


SB 5060 Signing

Signing of SB 5060 - Pictured left to right: Tim Hayner, Tom Schmidlin, Governor Gregoire, Mark Emiley

The amended Senate Bill 5060 was signed by Governor Gregoire on May 6th and went into effect on July 26th.  Celebrate your new right to transport your homemade beer and wine!  Head to a barbeque with some of your great homemade concoctions and share your passion for our hobby!  Thanks to everyone for making this possible by making the calls!

This new law will allow you to take your homemade beer and wine out of your house for private enjoyment and for use at meetings, tastings, competitions, and conferences.  For some "unofficial guidance" on how to comply with the new law, read this quick summary.

In early 2009, the Washington Homebrewers Association (WAHA) is led the fight to change the homemade beer and wine transportation laws to encourage the development of Washington's homemade beer and wine culture. The result of this effort was the passage of Senate Bill 5060 which:

  • Allow enjoyment of homemade beer and wine as a savored and respected component of Washington culture
  • Create an environment fostering community-based improvement for the future leaders of Washington's tax-generating craft beer and wine industries
  • Allow grass-roots community involvement in home and craft production movements
  • Allow for clear application with consistent and practical regulation wording

The law changed to the regulations to allow for homemade beer and wine to be removed from the house of production to be used for private consumption or use in community events such as tastings, club meetings, conferences, and competitions.

Why did the Laws Need to Be Changed?

The prior regulations made most homemade beer and wine events practiced in the rest of the United States illegal.  The law only allowed transportation of up to one gallon of homemade beer or wine only for use at competitions or exhibitions (where the only people who could taste the product were judges or the producer).

Overall, simple things like "non-competitive" tastings at a club meeting or taking a bottle of beer or wine to a neighbor's house were essentially illegal. This hindered the progression of the homemade beer and wine communities in Washington and impeded the development of the future members of our craft beer and wine industries. 

What were the Previous Laws Regarding Homemade Beer and Wine?

National regulations allow home production of 100 gallons of beer or wine per calendar year per adult* or up to 200 gallons per household with 2 or more adults provided that it is not sold.  This remains the same.

States are allowed to further regulate the production and transportation of homemade beer and wine.

Washington State provides an exemption for homemade beer and wine in RCW 66.12.010 allowing production without a license or permit. This makes home brewing and wine making legal in Washington!

HOWEVER, the previous version of Washington State regulations (RCW 66.28.140) prohibited transportation or sharing of homemade beer & wine outside of the house of production and limited the transfer to only competitions or exhibitions. At these events, only "judges" could sample the products. The largest volume that could be transported was 1 gallon.  The law also required incredibly burdensome return policies on the unused entries from competitions.

What are the New Regulations?

The new wording greatly simplifies the constraints around transportation of homemade beer and wine, lines up closely with National regulations, and allows controlled sharing of homemade beer and wine with family, friends, relatives, and groups.  The highlights of the new law are:

  • Adults may remove homemade ("family") beer or wine from the household of production provided:
    • It is not removed for sale
    • Up to 20 gallons at a time
    • It is used privately (including use at organized affairs, exhibitions, or competitions)

Basically, keep movement of beer to volumes under 20 gallons per person and enjoy it in private!  You can read the final wording of the RCWs in Senate Bill 5060 or when they are posted in RCW 66.12.010 and RCW 66.28.140 after they go into effect on July 26, 2009.

To all who made this effort possible, especially Senator Jacobsen who sponsored our bill, thanks for your support of Washington's home brewers and winemakers!  Let this be a reminder that as a group of involved citizens we can accomplish a lot!

Title Filter     Display # 
# Article Title Author Hits
1 Stance on Use of Marijuana in Beer Mark Emiley 6701
2 Ask Your US Rep to Join the House Small Brewers Caucus Mark Emiley 7543
3 SB 5060 in Effect as of July 26th, 2009 - Guidelines Mark Emiley 18217
4 Legal Effort Overview Mark Emiley 17362
5 Example Contact Message Mark Emiley 13311
6 Recruitment Message for Legislative Help Mark Emiley 13776
7 Legislative Effort Talking Points - Short Mark Emiley 12789
8 Legislative Effort Background and Talking Points - Long Mark Emiley 14296
9 Help the Legislative Effort Mark Emiley 16783
10 Final Changes to WA RCW Mark Emiley 7621

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