Homebrewers may get a boost from bill that would expand their beer base

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OLATHE, Kan. -- For all of you who like beer, especially those of you who like to make it yourself, we have news for you. State lawmakers in Kansas are considering a bill that could make home brewing a little more popular.

A garage might not be what you think about when you think about where beer comes from, but that’s where one man in Kansas brews his beer. FOX 4 met up with Heath Girard at his Olathe home on Thursday.

"This hobby is a perfect blend of art, science and garage mechanics. It seems like a lot of guys you run into, almost everyone's got an interest in brewing beer. It just seems to be a Y chromosome thing," he said.

Beer is something that's brought buddies together for years. Girard has brewed his own beer at home for the past several years.

"There is something incredibly satisfying about pouring a beer that looks just like it's supposed to look, that tastes just like it's supposed to taste, and the fact that you made it," he said.

Girard's garage set up is not hidden, and we aren't in the Prohibition era but, Girard asks, "If I can make it around all of my friends, why can't all of my friends taste it?"

Kansas lawmakers are considering a bill that would let home brewers share their brews with people outside immediate family. As the law now stands, Girard and other people who brew beer at home cannot legally share beer with friends or enter it into competitions.

"It would be very nice to not break the law if you decided to let one of your neighbors taste your beer, which of course, everybody's always interested in it," Girard said.

He also says it’s not all about the drink itself. "We laugh that we're not in danger of becoming addicted to beer. We're in danger of becoming addicted to brewing. That's the part that's so attractive to everybody, it`s just a lot of fun."

Girard hopes soon, he can share his homemade beer outside his garage.

If this bill passes, it could mean a potential spike in sales for shops which sell the equipment and materials for home brewing. FOX 4 talked with the owner of Bacchus and Barleycorn.

"The law now is definitely antiquated, and I think the ambiguity in which it is written has made interpretation change over the years, so to get something that`s really clear will be helpful to everybody," Alberta Rager said.

The senate committee is expected to vote on the bill next week.

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