Oklahoma Legalizes Homebrew Beer

State becomes one of the last states to change law legalizing homebrewing

Colby Schwartz

Homebrewers in Oklahoma and across the country raised a toast last week, when Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry signed into law legislation that makes homebrewing beer legal in the state.

House Bill 2348, sponsored by Representative Colby Schwartz and Senator Mike Schulz, officially legalized the home production of beer for personal use in Oklahoma. Home production of wine and cider for personal use was already legal in Oklahoma.

The passage of HB 2348 leaves Alabama and Mississippi as the only remaining states where the homebrewing hobby is not yet legal. The U.S. government made homebrewing legal on a federal level in 1979.

“I’m excited to see Oklahoma finally bring homebrewing into parity with wine and cider, and it was an honor to author the legislation,” said Representative Schwartz. “The success of this measure would not have been possible without the overwhelming support of the active homebrewing community in Oklahoma.”

The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) estimates that there are approximately 750,000 homebrewers in the United States, including 7,000 homebrewers residing in Oklahoma. Oklahoma and Utah are the only states to have legalized homebrewing in the last 10 years.

Gary Shellman, AHA member and editor for Oklahoma City’s homebrew club, the High Plains Draughters, initiated the legalization process and worked tirelessly to ensure the bill’s passage. Shellman spent months lining up a sponsor for a homebrew bill. He kept up with the bill throughout the process, advising the bill’s sponsors and reporting on the bill’s progress to the American Homebrewers Association staff and Oklahoma homebrew club members.

“Our theme from the very beginning was to get support from all sectors of the brewing community to bring parity for homebrewed beer with that already long enjoyed by home wine and cider makers,” said Shellman. “We are proud to say that we finally got the job done, but none of this would have been possible without the diligent efforts of Rep. Colby Schwartz.”

The American Homebrewers Association assisted the legalization effort by providing advice and by mobilizing Oklahoma AHA members and Brewers Association member breweries in support of HB 2348.

“Gary Shellman’s dedication to homebrew legalization and the response of Oklahoma’s homebrewers has been truly inspiring,” said Gary Glass, director of the American Homebrewers Association. “I’m glad that the AHA was there to help with the process, as I believe that legalizing homebrewing for all U.S. citizens is one of the most important issues that the AHA addresses.”

The AHA is currently working with homebrewers in Alabama and Mississippi on efforts to legalize homebrewing in those states.