Attention fellow beer lovers: do you know what we’re celebrating today? No, I’m not talking about Columbus day. I mean, I guess we’re celebrating that too, but there’s something else; something more up our alley. On this day, exactly 35 years ago, home brewing was legalized at the federal level in these here United States.
That’s right. On October 14, 1978, Jimmy Carter signed H.R. 1337, a bill containing a very specific amendment which created an exemption from taxation of beer brewed at home for personal or family use. Lots of jargon, right? Essentially, what H.R. 1337 did, was lift regulations imposed by Prohibition laws over 50 years previous.
Of course, as mentioned, this bill only legalized home brewing at the federal level, and some states – namely, Oklahoma, Utah, Mississippi, and Alabama – held out at the state level. But it got the ball rolling.
If you look at the chart pictured below, you’ll see that the number of US craft breweries started to take off in 1988, and skyrocketed in the 90s. While we can’t say this growth resulted solely from the bill, it’s hard to ignore the correlation.
All breweries – from nanos to micros, and even macros – start somewhere. Oftentimes, they start in someone’s home, in their kitchen, or their basement. Without this bill, we wouldn’t have all of the delicious beers and endless options we do today.
So, raise a glass today in honor of Jimmy Carter. Brew a batch of something special in celebration of 35 years. Toast to progress, to freedom, to choice. Cheers!