Saturday, December 29, 2007

Is homebrewing beer legal?

Adam recently discussed the U.S federal limits on home brewing on his Beer Bits 2 blog, and I thought that it might be interesting to compare this with the legislation here in Norway. I have had several inquiries about the laws here in Norway, so this might be useful information for more people.

Up until July 1999 home brewing was illegal in Norway, unless you malted your own grains. Of course, malting is out of reach for most amateur brewers, so they brewed at home anyway. There is a page at the Norwegian Homebrewer's Association (which was started in 1997) site that has some detail about the recent changes. It is also worth mentioning that there were no such restrictions regarding making your own wine at home. Growing your own grapes might have been an option, but it's rather difficult this far north. Interestingly, there is one single winery in Norway making red wines, but that is besides the point.

Anyway, since 1999 it has been legal to brew beer at home without unreasonable restrictions. As far as I know there are no limits on how much you can brew either. As distillation or using various techniques to increase alcohol content, other than fermentation, is illegal one has to rely on fermentation alone, which is fair enough as most beers are made that way.

The current legislation is pretty straightforward: you can make as much beer as you like at home, and you can serve it to anyone you like, but you cannot sell it. You can even let someone with a license serve it, but they will then have to pay the associated taxes (including taxes on alcohol and VAT, and probably some more).

The home brewing legislation in Norway is surprisingly liberal given that alcohol is otherwise heavily taxed and is strictly regulated.

My own beer production has been 405 liters this year, which is a personal record. I guess it will be standing for a while, as we're getting our first child soon, and the brewing frequency will be reduced for obvious reasons.


Adam said...

:-) Always good to hear of young ones coming along!

The laws governing brewing provide some insight to how citizens are governed and restricted. Seems that has been going on since the early days of civilization. Power and money seem to be at the center of this.

No limits there in Norway eh? You lucky dog :-)

Cheers! And Happy New Year!

Travis said...

That to me sounds pretty reasonable. As much as I am a "freedom" guy, distillation is pretty dangerous to both the brewer and his/her neighbors. It makes sense to put some restriction on that. But arbitrary limits are crazy. If I want to make beer and give it away for free, there shouldn't be a law against how much I can make as long as I am not selling it.

Damn Puritans and their wacko sin taxes.


suorama said...

Hi, grove.

Gongratulations of first-born!

Early last year I found your blog, and thinkign "what a nice log". So I read it few times and decided to make my own but finnish. Because here are not any good beer sites in Finland. I know You maybe not understand any words, but there is link,

And thanks of helluva blog!

Best Regards

Anonymous said...

Hi there, long time since your last blog. I hope all is fine!
I read with pleasure your messages so keep going...

grove said...

Yes, I'm doing fine. Things have been busy lately. Children *do* take a lot of ones time. :)

Anyway, regular blogging will resume shortly. I have a few blog postings lined up.

Make Your Own Beer said...

I think home brewing is illegal in a few states in the USA....

Anonymous said...

Hi Grove,

I just moved to Oslo from Australia and am enjoying your beautiful country but am outraged by the price of beer....can you please recommend where i can get the supplies in oslo to start brewing?

Cheers, Michael

grove said...


Vin og Bar in Lillestrøm just outside of Oslo is the place to go for ingredients and equipment:

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