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  The Commonwealth of Virginia as of July 1, 1995 has made changes to the Code of Virginia [4.1-200(A)6] regarding the possession and transportation of homebrewed beverages in the Commonwealth. 

It is legal in the Commonwealth of Virginia to remove homebrew from your place of residence. 

What you can take with you:

You can take up to 15 gallons, in any type container(s)*, of homebrewed beverage from your residence to another private residence or venue and/or event where the same may be given away or dispersed as samples as provided for below. 

    *15 gallons =
  • three 5-gallon cornelius kegs OR 6 "party pigs"
  • OR 7.25 cases of 22 oz bottles
  • OR 13.3 cases of 12 oz bottles
These quantities do not apply to commercial beers purchased outside the Commonwealth. It is still illegal to transport more than 128 ounces of beer not purchased within (and therefore not taxed by) the state of Virginia. 

In transporting kegs, they should not be transported either to or from the venue or event with lines or faucets in place to disperse beer. Not only is this common sense from a safety standpoint, but a keg stored in the passenger compartment of a car and set up to dispense beer is an open container under other provisions of Virginia law, regardless of whether or not it would be practical or possible to for the driver or passenger(s) to consume from it. 

What you can do with it when you get there:

You may give any person of legal age an amount up to 72 ounces of homebrewed beverages. The law says this is the maximum amount of product you may give one person in one year. You may exchange like amounts of product, up to the maximum, but you may not exchange homebrewed beverages for commercial alcoholic beverages or for other items of value (homebrewing equipment, breweriana, etc.). 

You or others may dispense samples of homebrewed beverages to persons of legal age for on-premise consumption at "events organized for judging or exhibiting such beer". This would include homebrew competitions held at fairs, other public attractions or private clubs or community centers (subject to the approval of the club meeting held at such facilities OR on the premises of a retail licensee (again with the consent of the licensee). The amount of the sample is up to two ounces, the same as licensees or brewery/distributor representatives are permitted to offer of commercial product under similar circumstances. 

All consumption of homebrewed beverages upon the premises of either an off- or on-premise licensee is considered "sampling", and amounts provided or consumed should conform to the provision above. You are not permitted to "brown bag"; that is, bring in and consume homebrewed beverages as accompaniment to a meal purchased at an on-premise licensee. 

NOTE: The statements above are intended solely as a guide to the practical applications of changes to the Code of Virginia relative to possession and transportation of home brewed malt beverages. The enforcement and adjudication of any alleged violations of provisions of the Code are dependent upon regulatory language and procedure, the performance of law enforcement authorities and judicial interpretation. This is NOT legal advice.

© 2000 by the Hampton Roads Brewing & Tasting Society. All Rights Reserved.