Homebrewing Legislation in Alberta

Alberta Liqour Policy is regulated by the “Alberta Government Liquor Commission”. The AGLC is a government agency, and enforces the provincial liquor laws and regulations.

The relevant portions of the laws and regulations pertaining to home brewing, as per the “Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act”, are:

Section 86  Adults 86(1) An adult may make wine, cider and beer, up to a quantity permitted under the regulations, in a premises licensed for that purpose or in the adult’s residence.

Regulations Section 88   Homemade wine, cider and beer 88(2) No person may make wine in the person’s residence if the quantity of wine to be made would cause the amount of homemade wine in the residence to exceed 460 litres. (3) No person may make beer in the person’s residence if the quantity of beer to be made would cause the amount of homemade beer in the residence to exceed 460 litres. (4) No person may make cider in the person’s residence if the quantity of cider to be made would cause the amount of homemade cider in the residence to exceed 460 litres.  (AR 143/96 s88;251/2001)

Section 72 (1) No liquor licensee or employee or agent of a liquor licensee may permit liquor referred to in section 86(1) on any licensed premises unless the liquor is being judged in a competition authorized by a special event licence. (2) No person may on any licensed premises consume liquor that the person knows has been made under the authority of section 86(1) unless the consumption occurs as part of the judging of the liquor in a competition authorized by a special event licence. 1996 cG-0.5 s69

Ferment On Premises Facilities

Recently, regulations were modified to allow the production of wine and beer at “Ferment-On-Premises” facilities.  Refer to this AGLC handbook document to see a full list of rules and regulations for these facilities.  The basic rules set out are:

  • Only beer, wine and cider may be produced at a ferment-on-premises facility. Spirits may not be produced.
  • Products produced at a ferment-on-premises facility must only be for a customer’s personal use, and not be produced or packaged for commercial purposes.

Special Event Licences for Competitions.

As indicated in the above legislation, homemade alcohol is only permitted to be served at licensed events for the purpose of conducting a competition. See (special event licenses for competitions and Policies and Guidelines for Special Events)  

The general terms and requirements of competition licenses are:

  • Competition licences are for the transport, tasting and judging of homemade wine, cider or beer products.
  • Private Non‐Sale Special Event Licence may be issued for the possession, storage and service of liquor in relation to a private event specified in the licence.
  • All Private Non‐Sale Special Event Licences are subject to the following conditions:

a) only open to members and invited guests;  

b) may not be advertised to the general public; and (Amended Nov 2017)

c) no charge for liquor either directly or indirectly (e.g. no admission charge).  

  • The sale of liquor, either directly or indirectly, is not permitted under a Special Event Private Non‐Sale Licence.
  • Acceptable locations for a Private Non‐Sale Special Event Licence are:

a) a permanent structure;

b) a semi‐permanent structure (e.g., tent);

c) an area that is suitably defined (e.g., enclosed by planters, a rope, railing or similar barrier);  

d) bleachers or concourse area;

e) municipally‐approved public areas with the licensed area located within a tent or fenced area;

f) other venues approved by the AGLC.  

What is not allowed in Alberta:

  • Sale of homebrew for any purpose (charity or otherwise).
  • Serving homebrew at any public licenced event.
  • Serving homebrew at any private event that is not a competition.  (wedding, party, or meeting).

Malcolm MacKenzie is the Alberta regional rep and is obsessed with all things fermented. He has been homebrewing for about 5 years, and, over the years, has tried his hands at making beer, wine, cheese, yogurt, sourdough bread, kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut. He is a certified beer, wine, and bbq judge and enjoys travelling the world to discover new places, foods, and drink; and to meet the people who are passionate about making (and consuming!) them. Contact him at malcolm@canadahomebrews.ca.

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