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ABC confiscates homebrew equipment from Birmingham Hopcity!

Discussion in 'Beer News' started by slatetupelo, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. bctdi

    bctdi Aficionado (220) Georgia Dec 8, 2008

    So , did they need approval to be in possession of home brew supplies from the abc? Was that the letter of the law that was broken? I thought they had their liquor license already. They probably confiscated the books and hops as evidence to support the other stuff they confiscated.
    I suppose the other homebrewing shops are also breaking the law as it is written, but they are not under the scrutiny of the ABC because they have no liquor license. As I see it, as bad as this is for hop city to have to deal with this loss, this could be the catalist that helps to get home brewing legalized in AL. This will get more publicity as Hop city defends itself, and maybe that will draw enough attention to this issue to push this legislation through to get it legalized and change this poorly written law about alcohol making supplies to exempt home brewing supplies.
  2. Ariz

    Ariz Aficionado (110) Alabama May 2, 2009

    The problem that I have is that the law is vague in defining equipment "to be used" to make beer. I have asked around in other forums about any regulation or court precedents that clarify the law but I haven't been pointed in the right direction yet. In essence both the ABC and Hop City are operating in a gray area. In the case of Hop City the ABC also had leverage with appproval or denying thier license to sell alcohol. They get to be the arresting officer as well as judge jury and executioner in this instance Just my opinion, but I don't think the ABC's position is as clear as advertised. Else they have been leaving some slam dunk cases on the table for years. Thier enforcement powers are not limited just to businesses that they license.

    This has been bringing attention to the issue. There have been several editorials in across the state over the last few weeks criticizing the ban and calling for repeal. Before this home brewing has barely been touched by the state media.
  3. A statute is void for vagueness if it fails to provide notice sufficient to persons of ordinary intelligence to understand what conduct is prohibited. I don't think there is a constitutional vagueness issue here.

    Furthermore, I believe there is a detached, neutral administrative judge who oversees alcohol commissions, and then generally a district court judge of general jurisdiction above him, then possibly a court of appeals, a state supreme court, federal district courts, federal court of appeals, and then the big enchilada of the USSC, thereby making the claim of judge, jury & executioner one more akin to hyperbole & cliche rather than factual.

    Basically, I think the remedy for the situation is not grasping at constitutional straws (its perfectly legal to prohibit alcohol and its production), but rather, showing the absurdity of the policy, and drafting a new bill in committee/subcommittee.
  4. Ariz

    Ariz Aficionado (110) Alabama May 2, 2009

    You're correct that the best way to solve the issue is to change the law. Never argued against that. Hopefully that will change in the next legislative session. I'm griping more about the manner in which the ABC is approaching this case. And yes they do effectively get to be judge jury and executioner in this case. They really do hold the cards. All I've asked for is a court case number or established reg on the books that backs up their position. I'm sure there are avenues for appeal but that can be a daunting path for a small business that would be dead in the water without the ABCs blessing while it played out. As a taxpayer and voter in AL, I'm not happy about how this has played out.

    BTW this would be very unlikely to be touched by he federal courts. Any court action would start and end in the state. Which is even more reason toget thisntakenmcare off through the legislature.
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  5. I agree for the most part. The only very minor contrast I would say, is that most executive/administrative/quasi etc. . . type branch regimes have enforcement power (speeding tickets, parking fines, overdue library books, fishing licenses, state crime bar organizations, HOAs) its not unique to the just the ABC, and there is almost always judicial oversight of those decisions for those who want it. There is no court case, because the "victim" as us beeradvocates see it, has apparently not chosen such a path, possibly for the reasons you have already mentioned.
  6. Wow, Alvin Holmes! Amazing.
  7. I live in a place where it's illegal for store owners to sell smokes to anyone under 19, but it's legal for anyone under 19 to possess them.

    You have to be 19 here in Canada to drink, but you can serve alcohol at 18.

    I don't know the laws in Alabama, but just because homebrewing is illegal, that doesn't necessarily make it illegal to sell homebrew paraphernalia.
  8. They should still be able to sell the books as well.

    Sell the books, sell the ingredients, then sell "5 gallon water jugs," "plumbing supplies," and "dry-goods storage buckets."