At first, home beer brewing was illegal in America, before the laws changed and made America one of the top producing beer countries on the 90's... and now we see the decline once again with the tough economic times forcing many companies out of business and into bankruptcy. This has of course led to more and more people drinking to drown their sorrows, so to speak, but many more are actually turning this lust for beer into a productive past time by starting their own home brewery... and what a way to go!
Now we all know that back way way in the olden days, home beer brewing was a major and accepted pastime practiced by the colonial people. One thing you might not know that even famous people such as the Great George Washington was an avid home beer brewer, as was Thomas Jefferson and friends!
However, there was a time of prohibition that was devastating to the American population. Prohibition meant that it was illegal to brew your own beer, and heavy fines where placed on people who broke this law... and what a shame that was... some people even went to prison for having a home brewery! Can you imagine a life without beer? Everybody had to content with a watered down lifeless beer - well not really beer but something which was a very poor substitute for it. Nothing substantially alcoholic was allowed and few took efforts in making their drinks less alcoholic but tasty. Unfortunately the American people had to suffice and deal with prohibition. This then led to shop owners renaming all equipment so it couldn't be associated with running home brewery and started selling it on the sly to hardcore supporters of brewing beer at home. This was quiet easy because the equipment is fairly standard, including buckets, hosing, pots, pans, and other tidbits. The situation varied from state to state. In some states, only those selling home brews were caught while in some, brewing for personal consumption also meant facing legal charges. Good thing those laws have been since relaxed and prohibition has truly been and gone!
Before beer was allowed to be brewed at home, a change in law allowed people to make their own wine at home, but now people had to obtain a permit to brew beer at home... strange but true. Even though there were strict regulations, this breath of fresh air was welcomed by the home beer brewing community. One off this first home beer brewers was Charlie Papazian, and he took it to himself to start teaching others how to brew their own beer at home... it was tough going as for those that didn't have a permit it was illegal, but Charlie kept the dream alive.
But thankfully, in 1978, Jimmy Carter rescued the doomed souls of beer loving Americans and signed Senate Amendment 3534 allowing households to brew their own beer as long as they don't go beyond 200 gallons a year. After the lifting of the prohibition on alcoholic beverages, it was home brew beer enthusiasts who worked hard to revive the brewing industry. Today, there are over 1,463 breweries in the United States, a much improved American home brewing state.
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