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Kansas expands rights for homebrewers

05/03/2014 12:00 AM

05/03/2014 12:00 AM

Tomorrow will be an extra special National Homebrew Day

for Kansas homebrewers, who can now legally transport and share their beer.

On Wednesday, Governor Sam Brownback ceremonially signed House Bill 2223, which amended liquor laws to allow the transportation and sharing of homebrews. (Read

the bill

on page 406 in the New State Laws section of the Kansas Register).

If you didn’t know that sharing homebrewed beer was illegal, you’re not the only one: For 30 years, members of the

Kansas City Bier Meisters

homebrewing club met in various Johnson County locations to talk about brewing and sample one another’s homemade beers.

In June 2012, the club’s president, Steve Cook, received a call from the Kansas Division of Alcohol Beverage Control informing him that transporting and sharing homebrewed beer with anyone except for family members was prohibited by state liquor laws.

As a result, the KC Bier Meisters moved their meetings to Missouri, which

expanded rights for homebrewers

last year. Cook says the club’s attendance dropped after the move because most of its members live on the Kansas side.

Cook says he also called other Kansas homebrewing clubs to let them know about the state’s restrictions on homebrewing. Many of those clubs, he says, chose to stop meeting.

Last year, KC Bier Meisters teamed with the

Lawrence Brewers Guild

to work on expanding homebrewing rights in the Sunflower State. They hired lobbyist Philip Bradley to help push their bill through the Kansas legislature.

House Bill 2223 met little opposition (it passed the Senate 40-0, and the House 115-9) and was signed by the governor on April 17. Now it’s legal for Kansas homebrewers to enter their beer in competitions and share it with friends, as long as they don’t ask for money in return.

“Now what we thought was legal for 30 years is actually legal,” Cook says.

He says KC Bier Meisters have no immediate plans to move club meetings back to Kansas.

“We’re pretty comfortable where we’re at,” Cook says, “and we’ve built up a lot of new members from the Missouri side.”

But Johnson County brewers might soon have a club closer to home.

“There’s been a lot of talk on Facebook the last couple days about trying to get a club started in Overland Park,” Cook says.

Contact Sarah Gish via email at sgish@kcstar.com or tweet @sarah_gish.

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