Leading into the long Fourth of July weekend, today’s news from the American Homebrewers Association seems somewhat fitting: With new Mississippi laws going into effect today, July 1, it is officially legal to homebrew in every single state. It’s the first time since Prohibition that this has been the case.
If you live in a state where homebrewing has been legal for quite some time, it might come as a shock that certain states—mainly in the South—held out for so long. What I find equally incredible is that some of those states, like Alabama, have a budding craft beer scene. Blue Pants, Yellowhammer and Straight To Ale are all breweries that opened up shop in the last few years, before Alabama officially legalized homebrewing—which, for the record, wasn’t until this past May. Considering most breweries are started by really talented homebrewers, this is kind of remarkable (never mind the legality of how these guys became talented homebrewers in the first place).
We ran a piece on Straight To Ale in our Jan/Feb 2013 issue, in which co-founder Dan Perry was pretty vocal about his support for the state’s underground homebrewing culture.
“There’s such a strong homebrewing community in Huntsville because you’ve got all these engineers [from NASA and the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal] that are into their systems and the chemistry. The local homebrewers taught me so much—I couldn’t have started a brewery without them,” he said.
Perry and brewmaster Rick Tarvin showed their support, among various ways, by creating a Right To Brew Series, in which they invited local homebrewers in to brew their favorite recipes for the taproom. It was a clever way to showcase the fact that Alabama had talented, active homebrewers living within its state lines, regardless of its archaic laws.
So, with Mississippi now joining Alabama and the rest of the country, homebrewing is officially a legal American hobby, anywhere you go. Considering the American Homebrewers Association boasts more than 38,000 members and estimates more than one million citizens brew beer or make wine at home at least once a year, that just seems right.
So, what are you planning to brew over the holiday?