Two bits of sad news out of the Beaver State this week courtesy of our beaver-loving buddy, Beerford McBrewin.

First, Oregonian homebrewers will shortly face increased restrictions on their hobby. In a nutshell, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) has decided to “reinterpret” an old law which forbids the production of booze by anyone not licensed by them. While homebrewing is still perfectly legal (it’s a Federally protected right), the new interpretation restricts consumption of homebrew to the brewer’s house. In other words, no more “Homebrew Clubs” where hobbyists congregate to share their creations. More importantly, no more homebrewing competitions which are a popular and well-attended diversion in Oregon. The article notes that the Oregon State Fair has held a homebrewing competition for 22 years which is now in danger of being canceled because of the OLCC’s new approach.

While the new interpretation of the law sounds frustrating, it appears that state legislators are planning on changing the law ASAP. Oregon lawmakers seem to understand how important the brewing industry is to their state (as opposed to, say, Alabama lawmakers). The article quotes two legislative hopefuls on either side of the aisle who are committed to changing the law during the next session.

The second story is a bit sadder. Roots…the first certified all-organic brewery in Portland, has shuttered its doors this week. Citing various small business woes, many of them related to the recent economic downturn, the much-loved brewpub has officially been shut down. So no more Woody, Island Red, or Epic Ale on your package store shelves, my dear Oregonians. Having just sampled my first, and apparently last, Roots beer a few weeks ago, I can only say it’s a damn shame. Owner Craig Nicholls hasn’t ruled out contract brewing his offerings in the future, but for now we can only say: Fare thee well, good Roots! We hardly knew ye!


  1. I propose the following solution to Oregon’s homebrewing legal snafu: define all beer as “medicine”. You know, like, “Will you go get me another beer sweetheart? Daddy needs his medicine.” That fixes one reintrepretation with another, and we’re good to go.

    ORS 471.035 Certain products excepted from liquor laws. No provision of the Liquor Control Act shall, by reason only that such product contains alcoholic liquor, prevent the sale of any perfume, lotion, tincture, varnish, dressing fluid, extracts, acid vinegar, or of any official medicinal or pharmaceutical preparations, or of any patent or proprietary medicine intended solely for medicinal purposes.

  2. I like the other exceptions better.

    Varnish: My liver is looking a little dull. Better polish it up with a little barley-varnish.

    Acid vinegar: These French Fries need a little vinegar kick. I’ll eat one first, and then wash it done with some hop-vinegar.

    Lotion: Ooh…my stomach sure is dry. I need some beer-lotion to moisturize it. Ahhhh.

    Let’s just say, I’m not too worried about Oregonians finding a way around this one.

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