Morning Reading: The Legalization Of Homebrewing

This one is more of a personal thing for me (since I homebrew), but Reason’s Greg Beato has a nice story about the legalization of homebrewing.

After Prohibition, a little wrinkle in the law allowed home wine making, but not home beer making. As the consolidation of the beer market reached its peak, people replaced homebrewing for necessity with homebrewing for flavor — despite the illegality.

I’ve often called the legalization of homebrewing in 1978 “the one good thing Jimmy Carter ever did”; I thought it was something he drove due to his brother. The story, on the other hand, shows that it was one of those little changes almost snuck into a bill by an obscure congressman and passed with little debate or even fanfare.

Congress made a small change to remove an antiquated and unnecessary restriction on human freedom, and in 30 years we’ve seen the American beer scene rise from the depths of homogeneity to become one of the most vibrant beer-making countries in the world. A little liberty goes a long way.

Maybe the next step will finally be the legalization of home distilling?