Homebrewing in the USA

“You can brew your own beer?” & “I thought that was illegal…” Are statements I seem to be running into a lot as I talk to my friends and family about my project. I wanted to address the history of homebrewing beer in the United States and as such address these questions. Charlie Papazian sums it up in his book: The Complete Joy of Homebrewing: Fully Revised and Updated 3rd Edition.

Homebrewing beer is not a criminal activity. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were all homebrewers. In November 1978, a bill passed by Congress repealed federal restrictions on the homebrewing of beer. In February 1979, President Carter signed the bill into law. What is the law, and why was it ever illegal in the first place? It all dates back to that “Noble Experiment”–Prohibition. …Now it is legal. By federal law, an adult twenty-one years or older is permitted to brew “not more than one hundred gallons of beer in a year.” (Papazian, 1-2)

I’ve been reading his book while working on this project and I was reminded of it when asked those questions. so there you have it, my (super short) spiel on Homebrew History for those of you reading this in America.