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Oklahoma House panel approves home brewing bill

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: February 4, 2010 at 12:13 am •  Published: February 4, 2010
Oklahomans would be able to legally brew beer for their own use if a measure that passed a House committee Wednesday becomes law.

It’s legal for Oklahomans to make wine and cider, but state law excludes beer brewing, said Rep. Colby Schwartz, author of House Bill 2348. Many brew beer for their own use, to serve guests and to enter beer-making competitions.

The prohibition is rarely if ever enforced, said Schwartz, R-Yukon. State liquor agents struggle to enforce liquor laws at commercial establishments, and they don’t want to go to people’s homes to check for brewing operations.

Anyone caught brewing beer at home now could face a fine of up to $5,000.

The bill was approved 12-1 by the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee and heads to the full House for consideration. It would allow the brewing of up to 200 gallons of beer a year, the same for wine and cider. That’s about 80 cases of beer.

Gary Shellman, a member of the American Home Brewers Association, said most home-brewed beer is below the alcoholic content of wines and ciders made at home.

"It’s a great hobby,” said Shellman, of Tuttle.

About 750,000 across the country are home brewers, he said. It’s estimated as many as 8,000 are home brewers in the state, he said.

People who make wine or cider are required to get a license from the state’s liquor agency. Home brewers, if HB 2348 would become law, would also have to get a license.

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