Oregon Homebrewers Mess Explained

You may have seen postings about the current stink in Oregon over an old and apparently long-dormant law which prohibited the consumption of home-made beer or wine outside of the domicile in which it was made. (If you haven’t, check out this story for the details.) You may also heard tell of the unfortunate role the Deschutes Brewery had to play in this black comedy.

Well, before you go burning the labels off your Black Butte Porters and Mirror Pond Pale Ales – surely you couldn’t be mad enough to destroy such fine beer itself, could you? At least not by any other way than through consumption and digestion – please take heed of the following statement just released by the brewery:

Hi Friends – You may have heard rumblings of this Oregon homebrewing story lately, and I wanted to provide you with some information straight from Deschutes Brewery! Let me know if you have any questions.

Deschutes Brewery has been an avid supporter of homebrewers for years, and would never do anything to jeopardize their rights. In fact, we were planning an event to celebrate homebrewing during which our brewers would brew on a home system at our pub and homebrewers would bring their beer to our pub to be discussed, tasted and critiqued. We contacted the OLCC to ensure we were not violating any regulations. Now it seems that the OLCC has resurrected a dormant law regarding homebrewers, much to the dismay of the brewing community, including Deschutes Brewery. We have always felt that passion for craft beer starts at home and we support homebrewers all across the United States. We are always happy to fulfill homebrewer requests for clone recipes, hops and raffle items for homebrew competitions. We also sponsor the Porter category at the American Homebrewers Association’s National Homebrew Competition each year.

Gary Fish, president and founder of Deschutes Brewery, said:

“The real story is that Deschutes Brewery contacted the OLCC to ensure that a homebrewers forum we were planning during American Craft Beer Week was legal. Given the rules we are bound to as licensee of the OLCC and as a responsible member of the brewing community, we always want to make sure that we understand the intricacies of the OLCC’s regulations. After a three-minute conversation with an OLCC representative, we were told that the agency would call us back with further information. This never happened, and the planned event was dropped as a result.

“The bottom line is that we were attempting to create an event celebrating homebrewing, and our roots in this culture. We were never contacted by any media outlets to clarify this story and the reasons for our inquiry. We hope that these OLCC laws will change in the near future, as recent coverage has suggested, and that homebrewers can continue to share their creations with the world.”

Deschutes Brewery strongly believes in the value and importance of homebrewing, and will continue to support homebrewers whole-heartedly in the future.

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