News & Updates

No Homebrew Sampling at this Year’s Deer River BBQ & Brew Fest

This year’s Deer River BBQ and Brew Fest will be without one of it’s starring attractions – this year’s homebrew competition will go on, but sampling homebrew to the public will not. We’ve seen issues with sampling homebrew come up for the past few years, and unfortunately this comes as no surprise.

Hello everyone. You may have seen the article in Saturday’s edition of the Grand Rapids Herald-Review that announced we are suspending homebrew public sampling at this year’s event but don’t worry. The homebrew judging event will proceed as planned and beer will be available for sale.

During final preparations for this year’s event it was discovered that Minnesota’s interpretation of current state statutes is that a home brewer or organization cannot give away samples of homebrew to people beyond the brewer’s family, as home brewed beer is not regulated in the same manner of professional breweries. More information will be available at the event Saturday if you would like additional details.

While disappointing, it is a small setback to what is a great event. We have a great lineup of BBQ teams who are ready to pair their low and slow ribs, brisket, chicken and pork with the live music of MESH. Home brewers will compete for prizes and bragging rights as well. Many folks will be camping on the site; BBQ smokers, brewers and their families.

See you on Saturday!

Much like 2010’s Artenbru, this event could very well have two-fold issues. Aside from the interpretation that homebrewer’s can’t share samples with the general public, this is also an event with a ticket price, which very well could be interpreted as payment for beer. Right, wrong or otherwise, this event will be shifting gears this year. What do you think?


  1. Lauren says:

    This is not a recent discovery. Review MN statute 340A.401 subdivision 9. Home brew is intended for in home, personal use only. There is no way to regulate the safety of these brews, unlike the licensed manufacturers who go through a lengthy process and inspection.

  2. Chad Haatvedt says:

    It’s too bad that my friends and neighbors have been denied the pleasure of tasting some premiere and quality crafted homebrews at this year’s Annual Deer River BBQ and Brew Festival.

    You see, homebrewers are some of the friendliest and generous folks you’ll ever meet. We are passionate about our hobby, and we love sharing our craft with others. Events like the Brew Fest allow us to talk about our beers , how we make them, and provides the public with an opportunity to sample a variety of beer styles. “Tastings” are moderated, with very small portions spread over a long time.

    And we don’t sell our beer. Never. We donate it to fund raiser events, share with our friends, enter it into judging competitions, and in fact, those of us who shared our beer at last year’s brew fest actually had to pay for the privilege to give our beer away.

    Home brewing of beer is legal in every State. President Carter signed legislation making it legal in 1978… United States Code of Federal Regulations Title 27, Part 25, Subpart L § 25.206 states that: beer.
    “Beer made under §25.205 may be removed from the premises where made for personal or family use including use at organized affairs, exhibitions or competitions such as homemaker’s contests, tastings or judging. Beer removed under this section may not be sold or offered for sale.”

    Minnesota’s statutes are not as clear as the Federal law, but here are a few facts to consider:
    There are 734 entries in this year’s homebrew competition at the Minnesota State Fair.
    The 2010 Annual Convention of the National Homebrewers Association was held in Bloomington Minnesota.
    There are 49 homebrew clubs in the State of Minnesota. Many have a legal organized status
    Minnesota is home to two of the largest homebrew supply retailers in the country
    Almost every professional craft brewer began brewing as a home brewer.

    I hope that our legislature will change the law as soon as possible to allow us to begin sharing our craft openly and freely. Then at next year’s Deer River BBQ and Brew Fest, we can all relax and have a homebrew.

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