Kan. lawmakers look at helping home brewers

Home Brews

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — In the state that made saloon-smasher Carrie Nation famous, the law still isn’t particularly to hospitable to people who want to share their home brews. Now Kansas lawmakers are looking to change that.

The Kansas House gave first-round approval Friday to a bill that would ease restrictions on the home brewing of beer, wine and cider. No one spoke against the measure during a brief debate, and the House’s voice vote advanced it to final action, which is expected Monday and will determine whether the bill moves to the Senate.

Kansas law permits home brewing if the beer, wine or cider is made only for the brewer or the brewer’s family, meaning the product can’t be shared — unless the brewer obtains state licenses for manufacturing or distributing alcoholic beverages.

The bill would permit home brewers to provide their products to guests or to judges at competitions, provided the brewer isn’t paid. The bill is being pushed by brewing clubs.

Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady, a Palco Republican, said loosening the rules even could create a few new businesses in Kansas.

“These home-brew clubs are incubators,” Couture-Lovelady said. “If they get good at their practice and create good beer, it could turn into a great craft brewer or even bigger.”

Kansas has a dry history. Voters added a prohibition amendment to the state constitution in 1880 and didn’t repeal it until 1948 — 15 years after national prohibition ended. Lax enforcement of prohibition by local officials in some communities inspired Nation’s hatchet jobs on barrooms.

But clubs were sharing home brews when, according to the American Homebrewers Association, state regulators told a Kansas City-area club in 2012 that the practice wasn’t legal. That led home brewers to start seeking a legislative fix.

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