Selling Homebrews?

Mead, wine, beer, and any other form of alcoholic beverages, as well as vinegar.

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Selling Homebrews?

Postby marladurga on Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:13 pm

Selling alcohol? Does anyone know what the laws are in regard to selling homemade brews like mead or kombucha? So far on the internet it seems like wine is tightly regulated and you can brew for your own use (up to 200 gallons per year) but not for selling or even giving away. Can I sell mead at local "farmer's markets"? or other seasonal type events?

For now I'll stick to giving it away but was wondering if anyone had experience selling mead locally. I'm not interesting in shipping or having any big production. Just making a little money on the side.
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Re: Selling Homebrews?

Postby WWFSM on Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:50 pm

Short answer: Maybe.

Long answer: This HUGELY depends on where you live. In many parts of the world, it's illegal even to make your own homebrew.

Assuming you are doing everything by the book, there are may layers of laws that will effect you. Levels like federal, local, sate/provincial, city, district...&c. As well as different branches of laws which include but are not limited to, the health authority, and the liquor licencing people for your country/state/whatever. Then there is zoning laws. so even if you navigate through the other red tape, very few zones (ie, commercial, residential, agricultural, industrial...) allow brewing on premises.

example: as a farmer, where I live, if I want to sell my apples (as they come off the tree, not altered in any way, not even washed) then I have to comply with the federal, provincial, district and city health and agricultural authorities - that's 8 different government agencies that I need to know the rules for, just to sell apples to someone who comes to my farm. If I transport the apples off the farm, say to the local farmer's market then different rules apply to me by the same 8 government well as a different health authority and the governing agencies that oversees the markets. I've lost count now of how many layers of laws I have to know... IF I alter these apples in any way, like slice, or wash or dry them... then I have a whole 'nother set of laws to comply with, including the requirement that I have an government inspected facility and government authorized training. If I want to juice my apples, then I have another set of laws, must pasteurize the juice, and stupid little things, like a specific washroom on the premise that is reserved just for the government inspector who may or may not drop by every year. If I wanted to ferment the apple juice, then all of the above AND I would have to apply for a licence to produce alcohol and another licence to determine how I can sell it - on site to individuals, to store, to restaurants...and if those restrictions are exclusive, like I am only allowed to choose one store to sell it to. Once I've gone through all that red tape, I have to look at how my land is zoned. Locally, I can only brew on industrial and agricultural zoned land...and not even all of that. The zoning is produced by several different layers of government. So federally and in our governing district, my farm is zoned agricultural, it took a bit of work, but it is now zoned agricultural in the city as well...however, provincially it is not yet zoned agricultural and since they are the major influence behind the laws on zoning...

Imagine a very long rant on how stupid the laws are, then me getting frustrated and stomping off to get a cup of tea, scratch that, a pint of cider, then coming back, taking a deep breath, and continuing.

That's what the laws are like where I live, and if I were to do everything by the book (and I try to, I really do), it would be impossible to do it on a small scale.

However, there are very little restrictions on brewing (or distilling) for personal consumption here.

Other places, the laws only apply to brews that are above a certain alcoholic content - so kombucha would be fine, but wine would not.

It can get very complicated and frustrating as the laws tend to favour the larger producers and are almost impossible for small scale production, or home hobbyist that just want's to share the love (and recoup some of the expenses).

Where you live is going to have a huge impact on how these laws are stated, interpreted and enforced. Could you give us an idea of what part of the world you are in and we may be able to point you in the right direction of where to find out what laws apply to your area?

But there is another option... I've just started reading Katz's book, The Revolution will not be Microwaved, and near the start he talks about something called a Bread Club. This sounds like something worth looking into... not that I'm willing to suggest (in writing) that one engage in an act of civil disobedience... but it's well worth a read as a, um, thought experiment.
Doing my best to be the change I want to see in the world, one meal at a time.

Currently Culturing
Kombucha, perry, cider, wine (red and white), mead(s), miso, sourdough, & seasonal veg my garden gives me
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