Brew Biz: Werts and All

By Ken Carman

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

The Topic: Genetically Modified Yeast

“Maybe they shouldn’t have modified my beer yeast that much?”

I admit: I may need some help regarding this from wiser brewers and judges. Genetic manipulation alone has never been my strong suite. Hey, I graduated college in 1976, and my major certainly wasn’t Science. As a judge, brewer and beer lover I’m always eager to learn more.

My cousin sent me a link to an anti-Monsanto blog that claimed beer yeast was genetically modified. I was immediately suspicious and not because of the Monsanto connection. To say that Monsanto has some rather controversial business practices is like saying, “We breath air.” A generalization and understatement? Duh.

But I’m also not adverse to all genetic manipulation. Intentional, or not, we have been manipulating for centuries at some level: slicing different strains of plants together, morphing Scottish highland dogs into rough collies, growing a whole ecosystem for Avatar. Wait. Please don’t tell me that last one was special effect movie magic. It was? Oh, now I’ll have to go to one of those support groups that help out those who are disappointed there is no Pandora like in Avatar. Sniff. Sniff.

No, I’m not kidding about there being an Avatar support group.

Now, what was I writing about? Oh, beer, that’s right!
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Home Brewing May Become Legal in Alabama

Dear Brewers,

Alabama homebrewers need your help. Currently, there is a bill before the Alabama House of Representatives
which would finally remove a Prohibition-era restriction and legalize homebrewing in the state of Alabama. This bill was written by, and is being championed by the grass-roots effort of Alabama homebrewers and homebrew clubs. We have no paid lobbyist.

We have made remarkable progress this legislative session: Senate Bill 153, sponsored by Senator Larry Dixon, passed the Senate last month and has been sent to the House. The House Committee on Travel and Tourism held a public hearing of our bill earlier this month and those of us who attended felt the bill was received very favorably.

We’re hearing some rumblings from Montgomery, however, that some of the large wholesalers in the state are not fully behind our effort and that a few may even oppose it. This, of course surprised us, as it makes no sense from a business point of view. We feel they may just not understand the relationship between homebrewers and craft brewers and beer culture in general.

We are asking that you contact the distributors and wholesalers in the state of Alabama that handle your brands and help us educate them on the importance of homebrewers to a healthy craft-beer culture. Emphasize to them that legalized homebrewing in Alabama can only help their bottom line and would not threaten their sales or customers in any way. Politely urge them and their representatives in Montgomery to support SB153.

Please support the homebrewers who support you.

Stott Noble
Vestavia Hills, AL

Home Brewing May Become Legal in Alabama

Written by Patrick Dever for the Auburn Plainsman
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