Urgent action needed to save the Southern CA Homebrewer’s Festival!

We need the help of all club members to save the SCHF from being shut down. The SCHF is held the first weekend of May every year, for the past 23 years. Over 40 homebrew clubs gather at Lake Casitas in Ojai to discuss the hobby and share their beers.

In October of 2013, bill AB 1425 went into effect to help non-profit organizations raise money by legally selling homemade wine and beer. However, there is a section which states that a non-profit established for promoting homebrewing or whose members is composed primarily of homebrewers shall not be eligible. This was not the intention of the Committee on Governmental Organization to exclude our event. The ABC has interpreted this to mean our festival is illegal, and they will not issue the permit required for the event.

So what can you do? I’m so glad you asked!

1. Go here to read the bill yourself and get a better understanding. AB 1425

2. Learn who your State Assembly Member and State Senator are by going here and entering your address. Go to their websites to get their contact info, and then write/call/fax them asking for help amending the bill and changing the ABC’s negative interpretation of AB 1425 so the festival may proceed as planned. A form letter is below, add your personal info in the first paragraph, and explain what homebrewing and/or the festival mean to you. Stay respectful and professional. It is their job to listen to their constituents,

3. Inform the California Homebrewer’s Association board whom you have contacted, so they know which state reps have been asked for help. Send an email to marlajo@calhomebrewers.org

4. Visit the California Homebrewer’s Association website to stay posted on the latest news and/or donate to the CHA legal fund.

Thank you in advance for your help! Time is short, so do not delay. Contact your reps right away!

Here is the form letter to use. The second one is shorter, since there is a limit on length when submitting on your reps website.

January 22, 2014
Honorable
«AddressBlock»
Dear   :
Subject:  Need immediate relief from ABC’s negative interpretation of regulations targeting homebrewed beer in AB 1425 for the Southern California Homebrewers Festival
I (work in/live in/am a member of a club in/support homebrew events in) the (Assembly/Senate) District you serve and am requesting your urgent attention to amending AB 1425 which was recently passed and signed into law.  This Committee Bill, introduced by the Committee on Governmental Organizations, establishes new statutes for home-made beer and wine. Subsequent to the Governor approving the bill on October 1, 2013, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has notified the California Homebrewers Association that our annual festival is now illegal.
The Southern California Homebrewers Association Festival has been held annually for the past 23 years and has become the premier event for awareness and attention to the hobby of homebrewing.  At the festival, Southern California homebrewing clubs come together to learn, discuss, and share our appreciation for the hobby. Sampling of different styles of brewing is imperative to learning the intricacies and science of homebrewing and allows homebrew clubs throughout the state to showcase their best artistry.
Our festival has grown to approximately 2,000 members and is scheduled to be held May 2-3, 2014 at the Lake Casitas Recreation Area outside of Ojai. Admission to the event is restricted to members only and has a 23-year track record of responsible citizenship. Our members are proud to help support the local community during their off-season, filling the Lake Casitas campsites on an off-peak weekend and spending well over $120,000 over the course of the event.
The California Homebrewers Association has been a non-profit organization in California since 1997. The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has interpreted the law to say that “personal use” and “exhibitions” do not apply to our festival. Further, they have determined that our annual membership dues should be viewed as purchased “tickets” to the festival. The rigid interpretation of AB 1425 describes our event as something it is not and was never intended to be. We do not sell tickets or solicit non-members to attend our event.  It is geared exclusively to enthusiasts.
We desperately need your help in repairing the damage inadvertently done by AB 1425 and with our event only 3 months away we need your intervention immediately.
Sincerely,
Name, address
 ——
Dear <Assemblyman/Sentaor>,
Relief from ABC’s interpretation of AB 1425 for the Southern California Homebrewers Festival
You are my state <Assemblyman/Sentaor> representing me in the <XX>th <Assembly> District and I need your help in amending AB 1425, which recently became law.  This Committee Bill sets new statutes for home-made beer and wine and since the bill became law, the California ABC has notified the California Homebrewers Association (CHA) that our annual festival is now illegal.
The Southern California Homebrewers Association Festival has been held annually for the past 23 years and is the premier California event for homebrewers.  Homebrewing clubs come together to learn, discuss, and share our appreciation for the hobby. Sampling of different styles is important to learning the craft of homebrewing and allows homebrew clubs throughout the state to showcase their best artistry.
Our festival has grown to ~2000 people and is scheduled to be held May 2-3, 2014 at the Lake Casitas. Admission is restricted to members only and has a 23-year record of responsible citizenship. Our members help support the local community during their off-season by filling the Lake Casitas campsites and spending well over $120,000 over the course of the event.
The CHA has been a non-profit organization in California since 1997. The California ABC has interpreted AB 1425 to say that ‘personal use’ and ‘exhibitions’ do not apply to our festival. Further, they have determined that our annual membership are purchased ‘tickets’ to the festival. This rigid interpretation of AB 1425 describes our event as something it is not. We do not sell tickets or solicit non-members to attend our event.  It is geared exclusively to enthusiasts.
We desperately need your help in repairing the damage inadvertently done by AB 1425 and with our event only 3 months away we need your intervention immediately.
Sincerely,
<Your name and address>

 

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