JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The House has sent a bill to Gov. Phil Bryant that would legalize home brewing in Mississippi.
House members voted 70-36 Wednesday to approve the final version of Senate Bill 2183, which allows people 21 and older to brew up to 200 gallons of beer each year, as long as they live in a city or county where alcohol sales are legal.
"We're excited about it," said Craig Hendry, of Jackson, president of the beer advocacy group Raise Your Pints. "We've been working on it for five years, so it's been a long hard road."
Bryant's spokesman did not immediately respond to a question about whether the Republican governor would sign the bill.
The bill says home-brewed beer can't be sold and can only be taken outside a home when the brewer is taking it to a tasting event or competition.
People who live alone can brew up to 100 gallons a year. Households that include two or more other adults can brew up to 200 gallons.
"A lot of my friends and neighbors enjoy making beer. It's a hobby," said Rep. Hank Zuber, R-Ocean Springs. Zuber, who shepherded the bill to final passage, told House members that he believed the measure would clear the way for one or two large home brewing festivals in Mississippi. He also noted that it had long been legal to make wine at home.
The measure exempts home brewers from permits and excise taxes charged by the Department of Revenue. The attorney general had said home-brewing is legal in Mississippi, but tax authorities had said it didn't have legal authority to create a permit specifically aimed at home brewers. Instead revenue officials demanded home brewers sign up for a $1,000 commercial brewing permit, and pay a tax of 42.68 cents per gallon.
It's the second big legislative achievement in as many years for Raise Your Pints. Last year, the group was among those who lobbied for the Legislature to raise the alcohol limit in beer, clearing the way for a wider variety of brews to be sold in Mississippi stores.
Hendry said Raise Your Pints doesn't have any other immediate legislative goals, but said the group isn't going away.
"We're going to work to promote the craft beer culture here in Mississippi," Hendry said.
Senate Bill 2183: http://bit.ly/XRsqe3
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