As America celebrates craft beer week, it’s important to remember that our current craft beer revolution owes a great deal to home brewing. Nanobreweries, microbreweries, brewpubs and commercial craft breweries for the most part hearken back to that fateful day on Oct. 14, 1978, when President Jimmy Carter signed a bill co-sponsored by California Sen. Alan Cranston and Rep. William Steiger of Wisconsin permitting home brewing in the United States.
H.R. 1337 rectified a clerical error in the 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition but omitted the important words “and beer” from the statute legalizing home wine making. Specifically, it allowed “any adult (formerly only heads of families) to produce wine and beer for personal and family use and not for sale without incurring the wine or beer excise taxes or any penalties for quantities per calendar year of: (1) 200 gallons if there are two or more adults in the household and (2) 100 gallons if there is only one adult in the household.”
The law went into effect in February 1979, although states retained the power to regulate beer. Alabama and Mississippi finally legalized home brewing this year.
Many if not most brewers began brewing beer at home, using basic ingredients and rudimentary equipment. Home brewer James Morris recently made his home brewing video available. You can watch it here to get an idea about the basics of brewing beer and how to do it. Who knows? You might be inspired to brew a batch yourself.