Legislation: Manitoba

Depending on time of publish, certain information may be outdated. Always contact your local liquor governing authority for the most updated regulations in your region.

Manitoba. Despite a rich history of homebrewing in it’s past, especially during the Prohibition times, it wasn’t until as recently as 2014 that U-Brews were finally allowed to exist and that breweries could serve samples in their taprooms.

The entity that is responsible for all things liquor is the Liquor, Gaming and (now) Cannabis Authority of Manitoba (LGCA), which is a government entity.

Taking a look at The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act, the only reference really in the act regarding homebrew, is that homemade beer and wine is allowed.

“Subject to the regulations, an adult may make beer or wine in his or her residence or another place authorized by the executive director”

According to this act, beer is defined to be “any beverage produced by the alcoholic fermentation of an infusion or decoction of barley, malt, hops or other similar products in water.” and wine is defined to be “any alcoholic beverage obtained by the fermentation of the natural sugar content of fruits, or of other agricultural products containing sugar, including honey and milk.

Since it was really vague and I was curious to find out if cider was even on the LGCA radar, I sent an email to the Minister of Justice, Honorable Cliff Clinton to get some clarification on the matter. A couple of months later, I got a reply from Rick Josephson. Here’s a snippet from his email:

” To begin, homebrewing of beer, wine, mead and undistilled cider is legal in Manitoba when made for personal consumption; spirits and distilled cider cannot be made at home under any circumstances. A maximum of 227 litres of beer or 227 litres of wine can be homemade at one time.

Homemade beer and wine cannot be sold under any circumstances, including under a social occasion permit. A person can serve their homemade beer or wine at their own home or they could take it to another personal residence for consumption or as a gift, but they cannot charge for their homebrew. Homemade beer or wine can be transported as long as it is in a bottle, can or container that has not been opened or unsealed. If in a vehicle, it must be stored where it is not readily accessible, such as in a trunk.

Although homebrew is intended for personal consumption, a special authorization may be requested from the LGCA in the instance of a brewing competition. This restricted authorization can allow for judges to taste small amounts of the homebrew for evaluation purposes only. The authorization would not allow for members of the public or those attending the competition to consume the homebrew.

Again, I appreciate your seeking clarification about the laws regarding homemade beer and wine.”

It looks like it is legal to make beer, wine, mead and undistilled cider at home, while any sort of spirits and distilled cider is prohibited (who is making distilled cider and what does it taste like?). The maximum of 227 litres of homebrew beer and wine that is allowed is in reference to a single batch at a time, so there isn’t a yearly cap on how much homebrew you can make or a cap of how much homebrew you can have sitting in your basement like in some other provinces. Here’s the clarification:

” To clarify, a maximum of 227 litres of beer or 227 litres of wine can be made in a single batch. The volume of home-made beer or home-made wine brewed in a year or kept in a residence is not restricted to 227 litres.”

The thing that I wanted to find out was what kind of homebrew events can be held in Manitoba. The license that you can apply to be able to serve homebrew is called a “Social Occasion Liquor Permit“. To my knowledge, there’s only ever been one homebrew competition allowed in Manitoba, and it’s the Winnipeg BrewBomber’s Pro/Am homebrew competition. While there hasn’t been a beer tasting exam involving homebrew run in Manitoba ever, to my knowledge, I wanted to know if it would be allowed.

So I wanted to know if the following typical homebrew events could be licensed under the Social Occasion Liquor Permit:

a) a homebrew club meeting, where members bring their homebrew samples for educational purposes
b) a beer judge tasting examination, where the exam beverages are homebrewed
c) an educational conference that will be serving homebrew in a public space like a conference hall, which is only open to attendees

I got in contact with Peggy Sorenson, LGCA’s Manager for Liquor Licensing to get clarifications on this, and she replied that at the moment, the LGCA only “authorizes the consumption of homebrewed liquor for competition events” and that the other events were not permitted. Considering that homebrew competitions were allowed in Manitoba, but not the homebrew tasting exams that are needed to certify the judges to judges at these competitions, I sent back an email explaining that, and she replied back that she forwarded my concerns up the chain, and would get back to me.

A couple weeks later, she got back saying that just the beer tasting exam would be permitted with “very specific terms and conditions, eg. Attendance is limited to pre-invited guests, only candidates (judges) are permitted to consume a specifically limited volume of home brewed liquor”.

TLDR: Homebrewing is legal in Manitoba. Homebrewing competitions are allowed with a permit, and judge tasting exams with homebrew will be considered with specific conditions. No limit to annual homebrew production. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *