Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don't like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don't expect freedom to survive very long.”     Thomas Sowell

August 10, 2010

Well, Well, Well. Looks Like Somebody Forgot There’s A Rule Against Alcoholic Beverages In Fraternities On Probation!

by Brad Warbiany

Rules, rules, rules. You try to do something nice. You try to organize a little competition for homebrewers where they can have their craft evaluated, judged, and [even for those who don't win] provide valuable feedback on technique. It’s done in private events, county and state fairs, organized by major breweries and by national brewing-centric organizations. As a regular competitor, I know how valuable that feedback can be in improving my beer.

This year, however, they dropped the hammer in Oregon, over a stupid law that nobody even realized was on the books:

When the 2010 Oregon State Fair opens on Aug. 27, there won’t be an amateur beer-brewers competition for the first time in 22 years.

An overlooked, 80-year-old statute that says Oregon home-brewed beer can’t leave the home has forced fair organizers to cancel the competition, which had 335 entrants last year, says Oregon Liquor Control Commission spokeswoman Christie Scott.

Brewers were reminded of the statute after the Oregon Department of Justice clarified the law for a pub seeking to serve home brew at an event, Scott says. “As long as this is the law, we have to enforce it,” she says, adding that the commission hopes to see the statute changed in time for the 2011 fair.

Nationally, federal regulations allow homebrewing as long as the beer is not sold and is subject to a 200-gallon household limit per year. (As an aside, one of my personal goals is to exceed that limit at least once.) The federal regulations say nothing about transportation of the beer, so this is purely an Oregon thing. Which is especially sad, since Oregon is one of the leading states driving the craft beer movement.

People romanticize government as our protectors, but forget that their meddling ways (and incompetence about what laws even exist) can be arbitrarily used to shut down a good time, despite the fact that nobody at the Oregon State Fair Homebrew Competition wanted or needed protection.

What’s next, shutting down a little girl’s lemonade stand because she doesn’t have a business license? Too late

Hat Tip: Reason

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