GTA Brews is calling for every Ontario homebrewer to join us in asking the Government of Ontario to modernize the framework regulating the consumption of homebrew at events. Homebrew clubs sit at the center of the homebrewing community, and modernization of homebrewing regulation would enable them to continue to grow the hobby in Ontario.
Over the years we have run into many hurdles while planning homebrewing focused events. We have compiled a list of issues we see with the current framework, and elaborated them in the form of a letter. We are asking Ontario homebrewers to send this letter to their MPP, and cc the Minister of Finance. This will show the Government of Ontario that the citizens of our province want to see this included in their plan to modernize the Alcohol Industry.
Cheers, and thanks in advance for your help!
President, GTA Brews
If you have any questions or comments about this letter, please email email@example.com
How To Help
Step 1) Find Your Local MPP
- Use this tool to find your local MPP using Postal Code
Step 2) Create a new email draft with subject:
Request for Modernized Homebrewing Regulations in Ontario
Step 3) Address the email to
• Your local MPP (from step 1)
• cc/ Finance Minister Vic Fedeli (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Step 4) Copy and paste the letter below then
• Replace [*Local MPP*] with the name of you local MPP
• Replace [*Sender Name*] with your first and last name
Step 5) Send the email, and pass this along to your homebrew friends!
Letter to Your MPP
Dear [*Local MPP*],
The Government of Ontario is currently consulting with the public on opportunities to modernize the rules for the sale and consumption of alcohol. I support the general intent of modernizing a highly regulated sector, however I wanted to express my desire to see some targeted modernization efforts for the consumption of homebrewed beer.
Homebrewing beer is a very popular hobby which has increased with the rise of Ontario’s craft beer industry. While alcohol consumption is a highly regulated sector, homebrewing remains a key gap under the current legislative and regulatory framework. As a homebrewer, I would recommend that the Government of Ontario review the following components of homebrewed beer as they modernize alcohol consumption laws:
Modernized rules on running events involving homebrew
Many clubs, including GTA Brews Homebrew Club, host events where individuals will bring their homebrewed beer to the event for sharing with other attendees. Examples of these events include monthly club meetings, homebrew competitions, an annual party/celebration, and other ad hoc events. The current legislative and regulatory framework is ambiguous in regards to who is eligible to attend events where homebrewed beer is consumed, as well as how these events may be funded. Most of the details regarding this subject can be found in the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s (AGCO) Special Occasions Permit (SOP) guide (page 4):
of Member: The Guide states that “Wine and/or beer may
only be served to members of the club/association/group”, however does not
provide a clear definition of “Member” in the guide.
calls with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) have clarified
that the definition of “member” is a paid member of a formally organized club.
- This should be included in written legislation and regulation
- Phone calls with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) have clarified that the definition of “member” is a paid member of a formally organized club.
and other non-members: It is unclear in legislation
and regulation how to handle guests or other forms of non-members at events run
by a beer club where homebrewed beer is served and consumed.
of these people include guest speakers or a prospective member seeking to learn
more about the club.
- The SOP guide states that “No service is allowed to the public”, however non-members at these events are not the general public.
- Phone calls with the AGCO have clarified that guests and other non-members are permitted at these events, and we would like this clarification included in written legislation and regulation.
- Examples of these people include guest speakers or a prospective member seeking to learn more about the club.
Fees at events: Under the current
framework, homebrew events “must be No Sale events and alcohol must be served without
charge”. This leaves admission fees, which are required to cover the costs of
running these events, in a grey area.
ask that clearer provisions be added to the regulation that allows for clubs to
cover the cost of running events using admission fees
- Costs can include logistics, materials, and event space rental fees
- We ask that clearer provisions be added to the regulation that allows for clubs to cover the cost of running events using admission fees
- Ability to Host Public Events: Under the current framework, if homebrewed beer is served at an event
it must by default be a private event. The Government of Ontario should
consider expanding legislation to allow beer clubs to also host public events
where homebrew can be served to the public.
- This change would be of significant benefit to homebrew clubs since we could provide samples of homebrewed beer to interested members of the public, and demonstrate that exceptional beer can be made at home.
- Many clubs host events where they demonstrate the brewing process to the public, and sharing samples of homebrew would be a large improvement to these events
- Ability to donate
homebrewed beer to fundraising events hosted by a charity or other non-profit
organization: The Government of Ontario should consider allowing
homebrewers to donate their homebrewed beer to fundraising events hosted by
charity or non-profit organizations.
- The homebrewer would continue to see no direct profit from the sale of homebrewed beer, but would allow us to support organizations in need.
- This type of arrangement currently exists in other jurisdictions in North America such as California and Oregon. In these cases, beer clubs have been able to raise significant funds for charitable causes.
An overarching comment is that the rules surrounding the consumption of homebrewed beer should be formalized and modernized in written legislation and regulation. Homebrew clubs are education-focused organizations, and the items described above would go a long way towards enabling them to run their events outside of the grey area formed by interpreting the current regulation.
I strongly urge the Government of Ontario to include the modernization of homebrewing regulation in their current initiative to modernize the regulation of the alcohol industry.
cc: Hon. Vic Fedeli, Minister of Finance (email@example.com)