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Law could allow Oregon craft brews to be transported

on 15/02/11 at 10:55 am


Solution? Amsterdam beer bike

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, told lawmakers on Thursday he would love to share some of his homemade beer with them, but because of a recent interpretation of an old Oregon Liquor Control Commission statute, that wouldn’t be possible.

For years, craft brewers and wine makers flew under the OLCC radar. But after the commission received several questions last summer surrounding home brewing, officials at OLCC asked the Oregon Department of Justice to weigh in on a long-ignored statute. The DOJ’s response: All homemade alcoholic beverages must be consumed where they’re made.

County fairs were forced to cancel beer and wine competitions and home-brewing club meetings were postponed. On Thursday, the Senate’s Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee unanimously voted to send a bill, SB 444, by Prozanski to the Senate floor that would allow home brewers to transport their craft.

Christie Scott, an OLCC spokeswoman, said the commission is hoping for a change in the law, but only the Legislature has the authority to do so.

“The way the statute is written now, it doesn’t allow for home-brew contests, and that’s certainly not something we were wanting to do, shut down the home-brew contests,” Scott said. “They haven’t been a public safety concern.”

Craft brewers throughout the state testified at the hearing about how important craft brewing has been to Oregon’s economy. Prozanski pointed out that both the McMenamins brothers and Widmer brothers started out as home brewers. No one testified against the proposed legislation.

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