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meopilite

selling legaly?

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Im sure theres a lot of loopholes in selling your beer. But, theres a lot of crafted beers out there that do it. I see small breweries out there all the time.

So how does one go about selling beer? (without going to prison)

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Guest

They buy a liscense from their respective states. :mow:

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It's $200 in my state, and the amount has it's limits, it gets more expensive from there. Your state might have sanitary requirements, check with them, but yea, that's all ya gotta do.

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Depends on how you plan to do it. THEN, you'll most likely be required to pay the "possible" sale's worth of taxes up front. So, yeah, check with your local and see what's said.

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"meopilite" post=253374 said:

Im sure theres a lot of loopholes in selling your beer. But, theres a lot of crafted beers out there that do it. I see small breweries out there all the time.

So how does one go about selling beer? (without going to prison)

Charge them for the ingredients, not the end result. :)

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ya... one could sell the bottle and let them have the contents for free. But how do you convince the authorities this is what was intended?

Seriously, i want to give my beer away to everyone, but i just want 2 bucks for the bottle.

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Essentially, if they cared to prosecute, you likely wouldn't convince them that's what was intended. Anything like that would probably be construed as a sale/barter, and illegal.

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Guest System Admin

You need a license and a inspected commercial kitchen (brewery).

Each state has their own rules as to the requirements for the kitchen.

Then once you get that you need to track all sales and pay taxes on every bottle.

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I sell mine.

I have a very simple and economical approach.

I usually charge 1 bottle of beer. 6 bottles of beer for a six pack of my homebrews.

.....oh wait, that's just a beer exchange. ah well.... :gofish:

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When the beer comes out of the fermentor, is it considered beer? By rights, its not drinkable beer until conditioned. So, if I bottle it, sell it right away, and just tell the customer to wait 2-3 weeks before drinking, im not selling beer cause it aint beer yet.

This isnt gonna work is it??

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Sure if you want to go to jail it works fine, or loose your home and car sine used in the act of the crime.

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"meopilite" post=253482 said:

When the beer comes out of the fermentor, is it considered beer? By rights, its not drinkable beer until conditioned. So, if I bottle it, sell it right away, and just tell the customer to wait 2-3 weeks before drinking, im not selling beer cause it aint beer yet.

This isnt gonna work is it??

Technically speaking, it should be beer at that point since it has a % of alcohol; just not carbonated yet.

Now what if we had some way of giving them a bottle at the time of pitching the yeast?

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"D Rabbit" post=253454 said:

"meopilite" post=253374 said:

Im sure theres a lot of loopholes in selling your beer. But, theres a lot of crafted beers out there that do it. I see small breweries out there all the time.

So how does one go about selling beer? (without going to prison)

Charge them for the ingredients, not the end result. :)

It's unlikely that will work. I don't have any links handy, but I'm pretty sure I've read of cases where somebody tried that and got into trouble for it.

"meopilite" post=253467 said:

ya... one could sell the bottle and let them have the contents for free. But how do you convince the authorities this is what was intended?

Seriously, i want to give my beer away to everyone, but i just want 2 bucks for the bottle.

That's not going to fly either. Bottles are worth 5c in a state with a 5c bottle deposit, so if you're selling them for $2, something is causing the bottles to be worth an extra $1.95. What is that something? Obviously, the contents. Otherwise, they could just return the empty bottles and call it even.

"meopilite" post=253482 said:

When the beer comes out of the fermentor, is it considered beer?


Yes.


By rights, its not drinkable beer until conditioned.


If we only had to worry about drinkable beer, there would eliminate a lot of commercial beers.

So, if I bottle it, sell it right away, and just tell the customer to wait 2-3 weeks before drinking, im not selling beer cause it aint beer yet.

This isnt gonna work is it??


No.

If you want to sell your beer, you should really look into the regulations in your state. The regulations are going to vary from state to state (I'm sure it would be more difficult for me than for many, since I can't even legally give my beer to a neighbor).

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Speaking strictly from a national government perspective, there really isn't any way around the legal process for selling alcohol. The government has being trying, pretty successfully, to get their cut since 1791.

Then, it gets even muddier at the state level. The craft breweries you mention have all gone through the proper legal channels to establish themselves, and even they vary by state. For example, you can take a growler home from Schlafly in Saint Louis, but the same practice is illegal at Saint Arnold's in Houston.

In short, it is expensive to sell either legally or illegally.

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Yea the easiest thing to do is get a license.

Are you just concerned with getting the bottles back?

Be careful because there are a few (maybe 2-3) states that it is illegal for you to even share your beer outside your home. Is this law enforced...eh...but its still on the books.

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You also have to deal with the three tier distribution system, which essentially gives your distributor de facto co-ownership of your (by necessity) incorporated business entity. Just as an example, if I establish a brewpub, I can sell draft beer directly. If I bottle the beer for take-out, it has to be done with a distributor, who takes a cut of my profit in addition to whatever other fees they charge, as an intermediary. The brewery has to comply with a large raft of legal restrictions designed to monitor pretty much every drop you produce. Selling alcohol is a big deal. You can't simply brew a five gallon batch and sell the bottles, business license or not. Even if you could, the cost of complying with all the laws involved would make it a huge money loser with no hope of ever becoming profitable. Basically, in order to sell enough for it to pay, you have to start with a seven barrel + system. And you have to brew a beer that is good and consistent enough that people will buy it. We're talking about a market here that is probably more regulated than the sale of explosives. And the government gets extemely cranky about potentially missing out on taxation of your sales. They prosecute some crime because the public demands it. The make a crime out of activity like moonshining and growing certain plants because they regard it as theft of funds that they would otherwise be paid through taxation.

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I would imagine that it's alcohol content that opens you up to the law, not the level of conditioning or carbing. And like most things, it all will depend on how "loud" you are. Hooking up your friends and some acquaintences with some beers will most likely bring you no trouble......advertising on the internet or trying to sell larger quantities to a store or bar.....that could raise some eyebrows.

It's like my friends who send me stuff about kids' lemonade stands getting shut down. It's not because the kid is selling lemonade......it's because they're going way way overboard.

Of course.....letter of the law....like what Gymrat showed you.

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Clarification: Selling homebrew is illegal. If you can sell it, it's not homebrew. What Dustin posted is, I believe, a resource for licensed breweries. Some states allow you to self-distribute (i.e. skirt the three-tier system somewhat). Even so the states seem to require a separate "license to self-distribute". As I understand it, that site has no bearing on a homebrewer's ability to share or distribute.

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"SenorPepe" post=253616 said:

Clarification: Selling homebrew is illegal. If you can sell it, it's not homebrew.

I would agree...once you start selling, you then cross the line from home brewing to commercial brewery. And you then open yourself up to not only the state fees to be properly licensed, but also tax, distribution, health department inspections and most likely of slew of other issues.

Although it's fun to think that one of us could someday cross that line and start our own brewery. Unfortunately, the laws of each state make it difficult and expensive to do it, but it's not impossible.

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I agree it's fun to imagine doing this for a living. Certainly not impossible. It was just a semantic point. The answer to "Can I sell my homebrew" is a resounding no because any way you can think of to sell beer you made will necessitate it no longer being homebrew. Kinda obvious and pedantic point but helpful I hope.

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Being in Law Enforcement:

It is only illegal & against the law if you get caught.

:cheers:


& no, I am not really in law enforcement.

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"meopilite" post=253374 said:

Im sure theres a lot of loopholes in selling your beer. But, theres a lot of crafted beers out there that do it. I see small breweries out there all the time.

So how does one go about selling beer? (without going to prison)

The only loophole available to you would be do it and not get caught...

If you have a couple guys who enjoy your beer just ask them pitch in on the ingredients and maybe show them the process. I would imagine if they've enjoyed a handful of your beers already, you could convince them to chip in $5-10 on the next batch. Might be a decent way to bring them into the hobby.

If you are just trying to recoup some cash a bottle here or a bottle there then you aren't going to get caught (knock on wood), if you are planning on selling to everybody in your neighborhood etc then you are asking for a problem. What happens when somebody gets a bad bottle? If they know you are already shady what's going to stop them from being a d*ck and ratting you out. I think you would be better off getting a group of guys to split the cost and also help with the brew day. Just my two cents

:party:

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Since Senor Pepe mentioned it though, I am curious about bartering. I suspect that the government has found language to make many types of barter technically illegal, again because they can't get their greedy fat paws into the pot. I've (maybe) made a couple of very nice arrangements that involved me sharing my homebrew, and don't (er, wouldn't) feel the least bit criminal for doing so. It is legal for me to share after all, and who's to say that access to firewood (hypothetically) or other useful things has anything to do with what I choose to share? That might be walking a fine line, but isn't that the entire point of bartering anyway?

Whoops, gotta go, I hear sirens. :whistle:

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Oly, my understanding is that bartering is 100% illegal as well. It makes very little sense to me that I'm free to barter my bread, cheese and vegetables but not my beer or wine, even if made from only fruit. (Or am I? Who knows? Do you technically have to be a licensed food seller to barter prepared food?) Harder to prove, I'd imagine, but being compensated or remunerated in any way for homebrew is illegal, as I understand it. Not sure what the legal difference is between sharing homebrews with an electrician neighbor who is also helping you out wiring your house and swapping homebrew for electrical services... But I'm no lawyer. Or a tattle-tale :P

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i wouldnt want to do it illegally. I mean, what if your beer ended up in the hands of a minor? Or what if the guy i sold to was drinking and driving and hit someone and hurt them? If they traced that beer back to me, id get sued for sure.

Best bet, if u cant do it legally, dont do it. After bringing up this topic, i did the math, and a person would have to make a heck of a lot of beer to make any profit. It costs me approx. $1.30 to brew a 16 oz beer. Unless i can charge 4 bucks a beer, im better off brewing just for myself.

Thanks to all that replied to the topic. Some interesting and educational items.

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"SenorPepe" post=253704 said:

Oly, my understanding is that bartering is 100% illegal as well. It makes very little sense to me that I'm free to barter my bread, cheese and vegetables but not my beer or wine, even if made from only fruit. (Or am I? Who knows? Do you technically have to be a licensed food seller to barter prepared food?) Harder to prove, I'd imagine, but being compensated or remunerated in any way for homebrew is illegal, as I understand it. Not sure what the legal difference is between sharing homebrews with an electrician neighbor who is also helping you out wiring your house and swapping homebrew for electrical services... But I'm no lawyer. Or a tattle-tale :P

There seems to be a great wide swath of gray area when it comes to this.

For instance, my brother, Ed, designed and built my Brew Station. He works in the commercial office furniture field, so he's the perfect guy for a project like this, and he volunteered his time and expertise.

He and I went out and got the materials, which I paid for 100%. He used some of my tools, but mostly his own tools to build it. I pretty much stood around and watched and handed him stuff when he needed it. When the job was done, I shared a couple of homebrews with him, but pretty much any time Ed comes over, I share a couple of homebrews with him. He's my brother, after all, and he appreciates a good beer.

Where does this fall?

Discuss.

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"FedoraDave" post=253804 said:

"SenorPepe" post=253704 said:

Oly, my understanding is that bartering is 100% illegal as well. It makes very little sense to me that I'm free to barter my bread, cheese and vegetables but not my beer or wine, even if made from only fruit. (Or am I? Who knows? Do you technically have to be a licensed food seller to barter prepared food?) Harder to prove, I'd imagine, but being compensated or remunerated in any way for homebrew is illegal, as I understand it. Not sure what the legal difference is between sharing homebrews with an electrician neighbor who is also helping you out wiring your house and swapping homebrew for electrical services... But I'm no lawyer. Or a tattle-tale :P

There seems to be a great wide swath of gray area when it comes to this.

For instance, my brother, Ed, designed and built my Brew Station. He works in the commercial office furniture field, so he's the perfect guy for a project like this, and he volunteered his time and expertise.

He and I went out and got the materials, which I paid for 100%. He used some of my tools, but mostly his own tools to build it. I pretty much stood around and watched and handed him stuff when he needed it. When the job was done, I shared a couple of homebrews with him, but pretty much any time Ed comes over, I share a couple of homebrews with him. He's my brother, after all, and he appreciates a good beer.

Where does this fall?

Discuss.

That's perfectly acceptable. That would even be allowed in Utah.

You didn't give him beer in exchange for building the brew station. You gave him beer because he's your brother. Similarly, he didn't build the brew station because you gave him beer. He built it because you're his brother.

There's some legal term for bartering (something like exchange of goods and services in consideration of something). Technically, when you barter, you're supposed to pay taxes on the value of the exchange. I suspect that most people don't, and it would be very difficult for the IRS to track it down.

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