Home Brewing in Georgia

I’ve just embarked on the adventure of making my own beer at home. Thus, I’m interested in the actual laws surrounding brewing here in my home state of Georgia1. I went digging around using the search feature of LexisNexus and found this:

O.C.G.A. § 3-5-4 (2011)
§ 3-5-4. Production of malt beverages by a head of household for consumption within own household

(a) A head of a household may produce 50 gallons of malt beverages in any one calendar year to be consumed within his or her own household without any requirement to be licensed for such purpose. No malt beverages produced under this subsection shall be sold or offered for sale. Malt beverages so produced shall not be subject to any excise tax imposed by this chapter.

(b) For purposes of this Code section, a single person who is not a dependent of another person for purposes of Georgia income taxation shall be considered a head of a household.

My wife will be happy to know that she is not legally allowed to make beer now that I am doing so, as only the “head of household” is permitted. She’ll also be happy2 to know that I have accrued the title Head of Household by virtue of brewing my first batch of beer. I think I will require her to call me that if she drinks the brew.

Using that handy-dandy search engine that LexusNexus provides, I looked for “head of household” inside the GA Code. With the exception of this particular code section, this term is not defined within state law. Of course, I’m not a lawyer and I cannot speak for what court cases or precedents or stone tablets define this term, but I find it interestingly stone-age that only the Head of Household may do this. What about a 21 year old who hasn’t moved out yet? Misdemeanor! What about a husband-wife crew who might brew separately? Misdemeanor!

I am aware that this is way overreacting to something that would probably not be enforced. If Jenn decides to brew some beer, I doubt the black helicopters will descend, however it is an interesting journey into the actual wording of the laws under which we are governed.

Don’t you agree?

  1. It’s quite an adventure if you’ve ever perused your state laws on alcohol. Especially in those states that still have blue laws. I was only looking for brewing regulations. []
  2. For some values of “Happy”. You’ll probably want to look up the term “Outraged” in a competent thesaurus. []
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