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Friday, May 17 2013 11:37 AM EDT2013-05-17 15:37:38 GMT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
Right now brewing beer in the comfort of your own home here in Alabama could get you a prison sentence - but that could soon change.
House Representative Mac McCutcheon has been working to pass a bill legalizing home brewing passed for years now. The past two attempts failed but McCutcheon, those in support of, and even those opposed to the bill think this time is its best chance to pass.
"We sell supplies for people to make their own beer and wine at home," Kim Thompson said.
Right now the home brew supplies Thompson sells at his Pelham store are illegal in Alabama.
"Forty-eight states have passed the law over the years. It hurts our reputation to say you can't do these things allowed everywhere else," Thompson said.
McCutcheon says many home brewers don't realize the practice is illegal.
"I started making contact with home brewers across the state and realized the numbers are in the thousands. This was an issue I felt they deserved to have a voice in," the state representative said.
Bill Day of Alabama Citizens Action Program thinks this bill is just another step in the wrong direction for Alabama.
"We are in opposition because of the continued growth and consumption of alcohol in this state. It seems like every year it's some way to expand it," Day said.
He is also worried there will be no way to successfully monitor home brewers. McCutcheon says monitoring will be up to the ABC board which he says has had a lot of input on the bill.
"We've allowed them to go in the bill and make changes they felt were necessary," McCutcheon said.
McCutcheon says with the time and money it takes to brew at home is proof that this is about more than just alcohol.
"Tthis is about a hobby and experience with a beverage that they're trying to invent a unique taste," McCutcheon said.
An experience Thompson knows well.
"That's the satisfaction like cutting grass. The smell it makes and it makes me proud. That's how the beer is," Thompson said.
As a part of the bill you will have to be 21 or older to home brew. You can't produce more than 15 gallons per quarter. And if you have a felony record you can't do it.