The whole awful story is here – http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2012/09/abc_agents_raid_birmingham_bee.html.
It’s a story about a fella who – like us – has fallen in love with real beer. Not the pasteurized micturations of multinational mindlessness that’s advertised on our talking furniture with jiggly girls and talking reptiles, no, not that. Real beer. Real barley. Real dried blossoms from a weed. Real people who you know, people who live down the street, who keep the fermenters clean and the equipment running while the yeast – the real hero in our story – turns sugar water into ambrosia, water into gold, zymurgy, alchemy, bliss.
A lot of people who meet real beer fall in love. Some of them wind up running breweries. Some of them wind up running homebrew supply shops. Some of them open stores that sell real beer, while other folks write and blog about real beer, and some people just drink the stuff. This poor guy in Alabama with $7K in merchandise he may never see again is one of those folks – loves beer, sells beer, helps people make beer. An apostle, and, now, thanks to the State of Alabama, a martyr.
Nobody who encounters real beer and falls in love with it really goes back to factory beer. Pasteurized beer isn’t as good, and the big boys have too much money in advertising and do-nothing executives golfing alla time to afford to make real beer. If I was a big boy and saw all this real beer stuff going on, I’d do something about it.
Homebrewing is an integral part of the real beer experience. If you haven’t made your own beer, chances are you know somebody who does – heck, you know us, so there’s that. The batches people make in their kitchens – from ambrosia to somewhere north of malt yogurt – teach us about exactly what beer is. It’s a beautiful thing.
Jimmy Carter – bless his heart – legalized home beer and wine making when he was President. It seems like a pretty American thing to do: Personal freedom and all. Several states, including Alabama, promptly passed laws prohibiting homebrewing. Today, it’s still illegal to brew your own beer and wine in Mississippi and Alabama.
Now, as Southerners, we count among our acquaintances a good number of bluenoses. You know, folks who are extremely conservative about the behavior of people they’ll never see in their lives. So, for us Southerners, the prohibition of this or that behavior often wears a religious conservative face. But in Alabama and Mississippi, it’s big-brand beer distributors lobbying the committees that make the laws. It’s strictly business, the “denigrate, regulate, replicate” strategy Big Pasteurized Beer Product has adopted to fight real beer.
They’ve got their laws and their faux craft brands. We’ve got love for the products we make, the products our friends in the industry make, and the products you make in your kitchen.