Hating on the OLCC

There’s been an email floating around started by a conversation with Fearless Brewing about a homebrew competition they were (are?) involved with. Someone emailed in telling them that their competition was illegal. Fearless brewing’s response apparently was to start emailing everyone that they were told essentially that it would be illegal to hold a homebrew competition on their premises. Here are the emails.

This became a subject of discussion regarding a recent inquiry from another part of the state, thought you should know about it in advance. This will impact your yearly event that you had recently.
Home brewers are not permitted under ORS 471.403 to provide tastings of their beer (or wine) outside of the home without having a manufacturing license. In order to qualify under the home brewer (or winemaker) exception in 471.403 from the general licensing requirement, all of the requirements in the statute must be met – which means that the beer or wine must be both for home consumption and not for sale. Since this product is not being consumed in the home, the home brewers would not qualify under the home brewer exemption and would be brewing without a license. Sorry to be the bearer of this news, but better now than the day before the event.

Thanks, Leslie

The Leslie in the email is Leslie Kleinkopf, an OLCC inspector. Keep in mind that ORS401.473 doesn’t specifically say this. In fact it says that ORS401.473 doesn’t apply to beer brewed or kept for home consumption and not for sale. The law does not define home consumption. Here’s the law if you want to see it for yourself.

No person shall brew, ferment, distill, blend or rectify any alcoholic liquor unless licensed so to do by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. However, the Liquor Control Act does not apply to the making or keeping of naturally fermented wines and fruit juices or beer in the home, for home consumption and not for sale.

Now here’s the email from Strange Brew Homebrew Club after Fearless “clarified” the OLCC’s stance. Keep in mind all fearless brewing did was forward them their conversation with Leslie.

To keep their working relationship with the OLCC, Fearless brewing and most other brewers that we have held competitions at let their OLCC contact know what is going on. This is what Bennet did again this year. In their true governmental efficiency, they did not get back to Bennet till just recently. It appears that the statute allows the home production of beer, wine etc was amended in 2007. What it does not touch on is the transport of the home made beverages. From a strict interpretation of the statute, we can not even transport a homebrew to another house. I agree with Randy, we need to get an adjustment just like the Washington guys did. We need to get a united front of beer clubs, supply stores and breweries to fix the transport issue. Anyone know a legislator?

Ted

Notice how Ted completly changes it from being an issue of providing tastings to transporting those tastings? Anyone else not see transportation not mentioned in Leslies original email? Here’s another on the subject from Ted.

Guys,

Look at the following email thread, the OLCC does not want us to transport beer to beer club meetings or competitions. As a home brew community we need to get the Oregon Statues revised. We need a united front of home brewers, beer clubs, supply stores and breweries to fix the transport issue. Please pass this to your club president and put it on your next meeting agenda! It is a time for action, I am looking for people to help support the battle, are you willing to help or do you have club members that are willing to help?

Ted

 Interestingly the transportation of liquor is governed by ORS471.405 which says

No person shall peddle or deliver alcoholic beverages to or at any place, where, without a license, alcoholic beverages are sold or offered for sale. No licensee shall sell or offer for sale any alcoholic beverage in a manner, or to a person, other than the license permits the licensee to sell

4 Responses to “Hating on the OLCC”

  1. Beermented says:

    Apparently some people just have a problem with comprehension of the written word.

  2. Bennett Johnson says:

    Greetings from Bennett at Fearless Brewing Co. I would like to clarify our part in this matter. Leslie from OLCC contacted me because she became aware of the potential problem when another brewery made inquiries to the OLCC about holding a similiar home brew competitition at their location. She wanted to give me a heads up with as much advance notice as possible. She was being helpful. I then wrote a letter to the OLCC and Leslie and copied some of our local legislators in an attempt to start the process toward a solution. The OLCC was very responsive. The OLCC executive director drove out to my place and met with me and Ken in an attempt to find a temporary solution until we can change the statute language in the next legislative session. The statute language that is causing all of the problems is very old, probably dating back to when home brewing was made legal. It has caused an unintended problem, and plans for changing it are already in the works. So whatever your feelings about the OLCC, you should know that in this case they have been very responsive and are doing all they can to find a solution. Thanks for your time. Drink more beer! Bennett

  3. Jared says:

    Sorry it took so long for me to approve this comment Bennett. Despite the title I was simply showing the reaction the OLCC gets. I understand Leslie was attempting to be helpful. The reactiom of the emails that followed though was rediculous and I was trying to highlight this. I figured this email chain was making its way around the homebrew groups and wanted to clarify some things for people.

    As to the statute ORS 471.403. It’s written vague enough that people should be safe if the OLCC ever tries to suspend someones permit for having a homebrew compitition.

    As to Ted’s comments…. Well, they simply don’t apply. Hence why the exchange was posted. No reason to get up in arms about a non issue.

  4. I have to comment. I am the Pres of PDX Brewers, and as many know, I just finished a legal battle regarding the wording of the OLCC laws. Unfortunately, whether or not the wording is ambiguous, and even if you are completely ignorant of the law, it is up to the officer, prosecutors and judge or jury to decide what is meant. In my case, I was let off with a $100 fine, $1500 in attorney fees, and a “False Swearing” (perjury) on my record due to wording in the OLCC law books.
    My advice is to lay low until the wording in this law is changed, as I have advised my entire club to do. I am also currently working on the bylaws to state that we are not responsible if somebody gets busted with home brew in their possession while not at thier home.

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