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Miss. governor signs bill to allow home brewing

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Entertainment,Food and Drink

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Beer enthusiasts in Mississippi will soon be able to legally brew their own beer, thanks to a bill Gov. Phil Bryant has signed into law.

Senate Bill 2183, which takes effect July 1, will allow people over 21 to make their own beer, as long as they don't sell it and they live in an area where possession of beer is legal.

While the attorney general said that in the past home brewing was legal with a permit from the Department of Revenue, only expensive permits for commercial breweries were available. Now home brewers will be able to make beer freely.

The new law allows brewers to make quite a lot of beer each year_100 gallons for households with one person who is over 21-years-old and 200 gallons if there are two or more people over 21-years-old.

The Mississippi group Raise Your Pints has spent the past few years working on legislation to remove restrictions on beer. The signing of the home brewing bill Monday is a major victory for the group, said Craig Hendry.

Hendry, the group's president, said work to pass such a bill had been underway for five years.

"You have to get the lawmakers passionate about it too so they want to see it passed," Hendry said Tuesday.

Ultimately, Hendry said the group was able to show legislators the potential financial gains that could come from the bill. He said that most professional brewers start out as home brewers, tinkering with recipes and gaining enthusiasm until they decide to make a go of it commercially. He also said craft beer related tourism will continue to grow in the state. The new law will allow home brewers to transport their beer for competitions or exhibitions of home brewed beer.

Mississippi will become the 49th state to the American Homebrewers Association, which estimates that 1 million Americans brew their own beer or make wine at home every year.

Raise Your Pints has also supported laws that have raised the amount of alcohol by volume allowed in beer sold in Mississippi, and given breweries the ability to distribute samples. Hendry said the group will continue to work on reducing restrictions on craft beer in the state. Their very next move, however, is to celebrate with a few beers on Tuesday night.

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Associated Press writer Jeff Amy contributed to this report.

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