Sen. Jacobsen is pursuing state legislation that would give home brewers a lot more freedom.

Sen. Jacobsen is pursuing state legislation that would give home brewers a lot more freedom.

Free Beer, Please

Local homebrewers find state laws a bit prohibitive.

Jerome Seipp loves beer. He’s spent 15 years perfecting his recipes for India Pale Ale and Belgian-style brews, and uses “cheers” as a signoff. But he can’t bring his beer to a wedding or even the barbecue next door, as state law allows homebrewers to transport only one gallon out of their house–and even then it’s only supposed to be for the purposes of tasting in a competition or convention.

But that’s not the worst thing about Washington’s rules concerning homemade beer, explains Seipp, Secretary of the Washington Homebrewers Association (WHA). His organization is part of a national group that hosts an annual homebrewer convention and competition. Participating requires far more than a growler or two of your favorite brews, but since participants can’t transport their home brews around this state, the law prevents the WHA from offering Seattle as a host city for the annual beerfest.

So Seipp and his organization turned to state Sen. Ken Jacobsen (D-Wedgwood) for help. Jacobsen is a big fan of the local beer industry. (Last year he unsuccessfully sponsored a measure to allow dogs in bars. Last week, he reintroduced it.) While he has never tried to brew his own beer, the senator loves drinking local microbrews (he’s a big Manny’s fan), which are licensed and regulated by the state Liquor Control Board. Unlike homebrewers, craft brewers can sell out of their breweries, in stores, and on tap at local watering holes. Hence, if homebrewers wanted to sell their beers, they would have to become craft brewers and apply for the corresponding licenses and permits. But as it is now, they can’t even distribute their creations for free.

Over a couple of brews at the Fiddler’s Inn in Wedgwood, Arlen Harris, Executive Director of the Washington Beer Commission, and WHA members asked Jacobsen to raise the limit to 20 gallons and make it legal to pour glasses for friends and family as well as judges and contest organizers. And last week, Jacobsen introduced Senate Bill 5060 to make exactly those changes. The legislation would still prevent homebrewers from actually selling their beer, but just getting the recipes out there is important for the local craft-brewing industry, Jacobsen says.

“If someone’s got an art or skill, I see no reason why they couldn’t [share their creations in larger quantities],” says Jacobsen. “Home brewers are the nursery for the next crop of microbrewers,” he adds.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

File photo
As new COVID-19 variant looms, vaccination disparities linger in King County

County data shows gaps among age, geography and race.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn
King County Councilmember Dunn will challenge Rep. Kim Schrier for U.S. Congress seat

The current County Councilmember would be following in his late mother’s footsteps

Garbage at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley. FILE PHOTO
King County and Port of Seattle to collaborate on waste-to-fuel study

The study is aimed at identifying logistics of developing aviation fuel out of municipal garbage.

file photo
Department of Health announces QR code verification program to prove vaccination status

WA Verify is intended to make vaccine verification simpler and more efficient.

Patti Cole-Trindall
King County Executive appoints Patti Cole-Tindall as interim sheriff

Cole-Tindall has a background in the sheriff’s office and county government.

Elaine Simons, former foster mother of Jesse Sarey, addresses a crowd outside the Maleng Regional Justice Center on Aug. 24, 2020, moments after Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson was formally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the May 31, 2019, shooting death of 26-year-old Sarey in front of a north Auburn convenience store. File photo
Jesse Sarey’s family wants people to know who the real Jesse was

He was killed by Auburn police officer Jeffrey Nelson in 2019.

A Snoqualmie Officer was involved in a shooting Tuesday night, Nov. 16. Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Police Department.
Man killed by Snoqualmie Police was homeless, living in car

The 33-year-old man who was killed by a Snoqualmie police officer late… Continue reading

Mid-afternoon traffic on northbound Interstate 5 on Nov. 22 near Everett. Dan Bates/The Herald
Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than pre-pandemic

Drivers and ferry riders could be in for long waits, depending on when they go.

Comparison map between current district map and proposed draft. (Screenshot from King County’s website)
King County proposes redistricting map, asks for feedback from public

Public invited to comment at November 30 public hearing.

The Washington State Redistricting Commission held a public meeting over Zoom on Monday night to draw the final legislative and congressional district boundaries. Most of the five-hour session was spent in "caucus meetings" which were unavailable to the viewing public. (Washington State Redistricting Commission)
Bipartisan commission fails to draw new political boundaries

For the first time in state history, the Supreme Court will define new congressional and legislative districts.

Homeless encampment in a wooded area in Auburn on Aug. 27, 2021. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing
What the history of homelessness in our region can teach us about our current crisis

A talk with the author of “Skid Road: On the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in an American City.”

courtesy of PropertyShark
State’s richest zip codes are all in East King County, according to home value study

Medina zip code ranks among top 10 most affluent in the nation.