Boulder, CO — On Dec. 7, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) celebrates its 40th birthday.
Founded in 1978 by Charlie Papazian, the AHA has worked on behalf of the homebrewing community for four decades, serving tens of thousands of members, plus the 1.1 million homebrewers nationwide, with events, publications, resources, and more.
“At a time when most American-made beers were light-tasting lagers, Charlie started a movement that showed people how to brew their own full-flavored beers and cultivate their craft, turning brewing into careers for some and comradery and community for many,” said Gary Glass, director, American Homebrewers Association.
- January 17, 1920: Prohibition begins as the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect, banning the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol, including beer made at home.
- December 5, 1933: The 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition, however, the repeal’s legislation mistakenly left out the legalization of home beer making (home wine making was legalized at that time).
- October 14, 1978: President Jimmy Carter signed H.R. 1337, creating an exemption from taxation of beer brewed at home for personal or family use.
- December 7, 1978: AHA is formed with the publication of the first issue of Zymurgy®magazine.
- February 1, 1979: Homebrewing becomes legal on a federal level in the U.S.
- May 5, 1979: AHA holds first ever National Homebrew Competition and Gala Homebrewers Ball.
- September 1984: Charlie Papazian publishes The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, widely regarded as the bible for homebrewers.
- May 2, 1988: Representative David Skaggs of Colorado declares May 7th as National Homebrew Day before Congress.
- May 31, 2005: The first year of the famous Great American Beer Festival® Pro-Am competition where AHA members teamed up with professional brewers to scale up their award-winning recipes. The AHA estimates that at least 90 percent of professional brewers began as homebrewers.
- September 1, 2012: The White House reveals its homebrewing recipes. Although many of the nation’s founding fathers were homebrewers, White House Honey Ale is the first beer known to have been brewed in the White House.
- 2013: Alabama and Mississippi legalize homebrewing, officially making homebrew legal in all 50 states.
- December 2016: AHA hosts the first-ever Hill Staff Homebrew Competition.
- 2018: 1.1 million homebrewers produced and estimated 1.4 million barrels of beer, or one percent of total U.S. beer production.
“The AHA helped take homebrewing from outlawed to mainstream,” added Glass. “The homebrewing revolution started by the founding of the AHA and became a catalyst for the explosive growth of today’s craft brewing community. Who could have predicted that Charlie’s simple wooden spoon, ingenuity, and passion would spawn a community of more than one million homebrewers and 7,000 small and independent U.S. craft breweries.”