MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Legislature voted late Tuesday to legalize home brewing and end Alabama's distinction of being the only state that bans it.
The Senate voted 18-7 to give final approval to the home brewing bill. The bill, which had passed the House by 58-33, and now goes to the governor. Gov. Robert Bentley, who doesn't drink, said recently he had no objection to the bill because it doesn't allow home brewers to sell their products.
The bill allows home brewers to make up to 15 gallons of beer or wine per quarter and to take their product to tastings and competitions. It does not permit the manufacturer of moonshine.
Alabama and Mississippi had been the only states prohibiting home brewing, but that changed recently when Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant recently signed legislation to allow it.
That left Alabama alone in banning home brewing, according to the American Homebrewers Association. It estimates there are 1 million home brewers nationwide, with about 5,000 of them in Alabama, even though Alabama law prohibits an individual from owning the equipment to make alcohol.
The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Mac McCutcheon of Capshaw, said he pushed the bill because some military personnel moving into his Huntsville-area district have made beer in other states and are surprised to learn it is illegal in Alabama.
The bill drew opposition from the Rev. Joe Godfrey, executive director of the church-based Alabama Citizen Action Program. He said it represents the latest in a series of laws passed by the Legislature to expand liquor sales, including allowing Sunday sales in some cities and permitting the sale of beer with stronger alcohol content.