In the video above Beer Idiot Dieter interviews Jean-Christophe Larsimont, vice-president of the Belgian Homebrewers Association (BHA), which held its first homebrew beer festival on 23 March 2019 at Bar 28. Some 23 homebrews were on offer during the day.
The BHA has been a pioneer in standing up for the common man or woman who just wants to brew their beer in a basement, with the dream someday of graduating to the bigger stage. Belgian law…or to be more precise…the Belgian tax department was holding back the gush of creativity that should be flowing out of those basements like the second flood.
The BHA’s petition was finally noticed when a Ministry of Finance issued a note in October 2018 on amateur brewing to clarify their status and allowing amateur brewers to give away or sell their beer to the public under specific conditions, such as non-professional events. Among the tax clarifications, is that every amateur brewer belonging to an association can occasionally participate in an event organised by the BHA for non-professionals who would then, after completing certain basic administrative procedures, be allowed to offer the public their beer.
Amateur brewers will be able to offer up to 40 liters of their production at such events, such as the BHA’s event. Previously the law forbid homebrewers from taking part in homebrewing challenges as well as sharing beers with people, even for free. This was certainly a strange law for Belgium, where beer has been recognised by UNESCO as part of the world’s heritage. Probably it was an attempt by the beer powers that be to suppress competition and innovation in beer.
Circulaire 2018/C/114 concernant l’exonération des droits d’accise sur la bière