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Homebrewing in America

Colonial Roots

Homebrewing has been going on as long as beer has been made. In colonial America many of our forefathers were homebrewers including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin.


As America became more industrialized homebrewing fell out of fashion and officially became illegal with the enactment of Prohibition in 1919. Prohibition came to an end in 1933 with the passing of the 21st Amendment but brewing beer at home remained illegal due to a clerical error that left out two important words “and beer” from the statute that legalized home winemaking.

Legalization and Jimmy Carter

In 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed H.R. 1337 which allowed the brewing of beer at home for personal consumption. However, states were allowed to decide whether they wanted to legalize homebrewing or not. Alabama became the last state to legalize homebrewing in May of 2013.

Current State

Currently there are over 1.2 million homebrewers in the US. This number is growing and there are over 1.000 homebrew clubs nationwide. Over 2 million barrels of homebrew are produced annually, making up a whopping 1% of total US beer production.