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Help Protect Your Rights - Contact Your Representatives!

Right now the great annual tradition of The Southern California Homebrewer's Festival is in danger of not happening. Thanks to the passage last year of AB 1425, the California ABC is trying to shutdown the 23 year old SCHF. The new bill heavily restricts the rights of homebrewers in the use of their beers. 

Before we get all "grr" and "arrr" about the bill, it came from a good place. The intention of the law was to make it legal for you and I to donate our beer to a non-profit to allow them to raise money via an auction. The problem comes in that in attempting to close a potential loophole (you found a non-profit called "The Cure For My Wallet" - donate your beer to the non-profit and then auction off to your friends - voila - homebrew for sale in violation of state and federal law) the legislature restricted the rights away from organizations that consist mostly of homebrewers or exist to promote homebrewing. 

So, good intentions, crap result. Now the CHA and the AHA are working with the Legislature to change the law to guarantee our rights. What we need to do is simple - write your representives. 

  1. Find your representives contact information - http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
  2. Send them a letter like this one - Please be respectful and courteous in your writing! If you're contacting via the web - you'll want to use a shorter version like the one below the first letter.
January 22, 2014
 
Honorable 
«AddressBlock»
 
Dear   :
 
Subject:  Need immediate relief from ABC’s negative interpretation of regulations targeting homebrewed beer in AB 1425 for the Southern California Homebrewers Festival
 
I (work in/live in/am a member of a club in/support homebrew events in) the (Assembly/Senate) District you serve and am requesting your urgent attention to amending AB 1425 which was recently passed and signed into law.  This Committee Bill, introduced by the Committee on Governmental Organizations, establishes new statutes for home-made beer and wine. Subsequent to the Governor approving the bill on October 1, 2013, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has notified the California Homebrewers Association that our annual festival is now illegal. 
 
The Southern California Homebrewers Association Festival has been held annually for the past 23 years and has become the premier event for awareness and attention to the hobby of homebrewing.  At the festival, Southern California homebrewing clubs come together to learn, discuss, and share our appreciation for the hobby. Sampling of different styles of brewing is imperative to learning the intricacies and science of homebrewing and allows homebrew clubs throughout the state to showcase their best artistry. 
 
Our festival has grown to approximately 2,000 members and is scheduled to be held May 2-3, 2014at the Lake Casitas Recreation Area outside of Ojai. Admission to the event is restricted to members only and has a 23-year track record of responsible citizenship. Our members are proud to help support the local community during their off-season, filling the Lake Casitas campsites on an off-peak weekend and spending well over $120,000 over the course of the event.
 
The California Homebrewers Association has been a non-profit organization in California since 1997. The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has interpreted the law to say that “personal use” and “exhibitions” do not apply to our festival. Further, they have determined that our annual membership dues should be viewed as purchased “tickets” to the festival. The rigid interpretation of AB 1425 describes our event as something it is not and was never intended to be. We do not sell tickets or solicit non-members to attend our event.  It is geared exclusively to enthusiasts. 
 
We desperately need your help in repairing the damage inadvertently done by AB 1425 and with our event only 3 months away we need your intervention immediately. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Name, address
 
Dear <Assemblyman/Sentaor>,
 
Relief from ABC’s interpretation of AB 1425 for the Southern California Homebrewers Festival
 
You are my state <Assemblyman/Sentaor> representing me in the <XX>th <Assembly> District and I need your help in amending AB 1425, which recently became law.  This Committee Bill sets new statutes for home-made beer and wine and since the bill became law, the California ABC has notified the California Homebrewers Association (CHA) that our annual festival is now illegal.
 
The Southern California Homebrewers Association Festival has been held annually for the past 23 years and is the premier California event for homebrewers.  Homebrewing clubs come together to learn, discuss, and share our appreciation for the hobby. Sampling of different styles is important to learning the craft of homebrewing and allows homebrew clubs throughout the state to showcase their best artistry. 
 
Our festival has grown to ~2000 people and is scheduled to be held May 2-3, 2014 at the Lake Casitas. Admission is restricted to members only and has a 23-year record of responsible citizenship. Our members help support the local community during their off-season by filling the Lake Casitas campsites and spending well over $120,000 over the course of the event.
 
The CHA has been a non-profit organization in California since 1997. The California ABC has interpreted AB 1425 to say that 'personal use' and 'exhibitions' do not apply to our festival. Further, they have determined that our annual membership are purchased 'tickets' to the festival. This rigid interpretation of AB 1425 describes our event as something it is not. We do not sell tickets or solicit non-members to attend our event.  It is geared exclusively to enthusiasts.
 
We desperately need your help in repairing the damage inadvertently done by AB 1425 and with our event only 3 months away we need your intervention immediately. 
 
Sincerely,
 
<Your name and address>

 

 

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