If a brewer were to keep a donation jar near his kegs (i.e. tip jar), would this be strictly legal in the United States? Sales of homebrew are prohibited, and this website states that requiring a cover charge for a party where homebrew was served would also be illegal. But, since a dontation/tip is not required to drink the beer, would this also be prohibited?
This question is really in two parts:
1) Is it strictly legal to have a tip jar?
2) Practically speaking, does anyone ever actually get in trouble for this?
I understand that laws will vary state-to-state. I am interested in any specific information you have, regardless of state.
1) I think if it said "Tips for the beer" then yes, it would be illegal. If it said "donations because I'm awesome and you want to give me money for no apparent reason" then it would probably be fine. I'm not a lawyer though. So..
2) No. Unless you're throwing parties and the ATF has a sting operation and sends someone in under cover to see if you're making 25 cents off a 5 gallon batch of homebrew, you'll be fine. They've got bigger things to worry about.
3) (The unasked question) A legal way to do it? Make a friend(s) buy the ingredients, and have them help you brew it. Technically, you might even be able to get tips for "homebrew supplies", as that's not alcohol.
Note: still not a lawyer.Tweet