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Georgia homebrewers fight for legality.

The Covert Hops Society in Atlanta isn't trying to ferment a revolution. Its members just want the right to brew beer at home.

While 45 states allow citizens to brew small batches of beers for personal use, Georgia left homebrewing illegal when it legalized in-home wine-making.

A bill legalizing brewing passed the House last year. It is now in the Senate's Consumer Affairs Committee, chaired by Arthur Langford Jr. (D-Atlanta).

Trying to keep their plans from being nipped in the bud, the Covert Hops Society, an Atlanta homebrewing club, asked readers of the American Homebrewers Association magazine Zymurgy to lobby Langford's committee.

"I want it passed because it's stupid to not be legal," Ken, Covert Hops' president, told The Macon Telegraph. He asked that his last name not be used because he is a Navy physician. "It is making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens."

"It's ludicrous to be able to make 200 gallons of 12-percent wine, but it's illegal of make one ounce of beer," Ken said.

Georgia's proposed law would allow only 25 gallons annually of homemade beer of generally four percent alcohol.

Federal law allows 100 gallons annually for a household with a single adult, and 200 gallons for homes with two or more adults.

Homebrewing has grown drastically in the past 15 years, paralleled by the growth of microbreweries producing high-quality beers and of brewpubs, where beer is made and sold at the same location.

Why do Georgians want to brew their own beer at home? Taste, quality, cost and self-satisfaction, according to Charlie Papazian, Homebrewers Association president and author of two homebrewing books.

"People who brew are very responsible," he said. "They integrate it into a quality lifestyle. It is a hobby."

Langford could not be reached for comment on how many letters his committee has received. But Covert Hops has gotten more than a dozen letters from individuals and clubs.

"That's just the people who have bothered to send a copy to," Ken said.
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Title Annotation:Covert Hops Society
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Feb 3, 1992
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