235 ILCS 5/1-3.39

(235 ILCS 5/1-3.39)

Sec. 1-3.39. Homemade brewed beverage.

“Homemade brewed beverage” means beer or any other beverage obtained by the alcoholic fermentation of an infusion or concoction of grains, sugars, or both in water and includes, but is not limited to, beer, mead, and cider made by a person 21 years of age or older, through his or her own efforts, fermented at his or her place of residence, fermented at another place of residence of a homemade brewed beverage brewer, or fermented at a premises of a commercial enterprise that is engaged primarily in selling supplies and equipment for use by home brewers and not for a commercial purpose but for consumption by that person or his or her family, neighbors, guests, and friends or for use at an exhibition, demonstration, judging, tasting, or sampling with sampling sizes as authorized by Section 6-31 of this Act or as part of a contest or competition authorized by Section 6-36 of this Act.


Intention of this Section:

This section establishes the base definitions of what is homebrew and is a homebrewer.

Section Breakdown:

Let us breakdown what this section means.

“Homemade brewed beverage”

This is the legal phrase for homebrew in Illinois.

means beer or any other beverage obtained by the alcoholic fermentation of an infusion or concoction of grains, sugars, or both in water and includes, but is not limited to, beer, mead, and cider

Basically, homebrew is specifically beer, mead, or cider made using grains and sugars, or just those individually.  Note that wine is specifically not covered in this definition; this was done on purpose at the request of the Wine & Spirit distributors of Illinois.

Of note, Saki, which is generally considered to be a wine and is distributed as such, is in fact made from fermented rice grains, as is found in most commercial lagers.  So, by this definition, it would technically be allowed even though it is not specifically named.

made by a person 21 years of age or older,

You have to be 21 to make homebrew.  This follows the Federal statute.

through his or her own efforts,

This line is the ownership declaration.  Note, if you intentionally let another person help you with the brewing process, they then obtain partial ownership of that homebrew and you can freely give them the product of your efforts.

fermented at his or her place of residence, fermented at another place of residence of a homemade brewed beverage brewer, or fermented at a premises of a commercial enterprise that is engaged primarily in selling supplies and equipment for use by home brewers

This one requires some explanation.  Everything you do up to the point of pitching the yeast is little more than cooking, so within reason, you can do that anywhere.  The moment you pitch the yeast and start the fermentation process, your homebrew comes under the limitations listed above.

A Homebrewer can ferment their homebrew at their residence, the residence of another homebrewer, or at a homebrew shop.  That second part will be of interest to the various shops around the State.  This was put into place to tie into 235 ILCS 5/6-31(f) which deals specifically with homebrew shops and is discussed further in that sections page on this website.  

and not for a commercial purpose but for consumption by that person or his or her family, neighbors, guests, and friends 

You will see this language stated a lot within the text of the Act.  Homebrew cannot be sold.  You can, however, invite anybody over to your house and let them drink you dry, you just cannot charge them for the privilege.  …and as will be shown later in 235 ILCS 5/6-31(c), you can take it to any number of locations and have it consumed there as well.

or for use at an exhibition, demonstration, judging, tasting, or sampling with sampling sizes as authorized by Section 6-31 of this Act or as part of a contest or competition authorized by Section 6-36 of this Act.

This is all references to the various sub-sections of the Act that give specific definitions of where homebrew can be consumed and under what conditions said consuming can be conducted.

Reference Links:

Illinois Public Act 098-0055

235 ILCS 5/1-3.39

Related Statutes Referenced by this Section:

235 ILCS 5/6-31 – Product Sampling

235 ILCS 5/6-36 – Homemade Brewer Beverages

Author’s Comments:

Recent Precedents:

Your Resource for Homebrew in Illinois