Rick Morris, Brewhaus founder and volunteer behind the Hobby Distiller’s Association (HDA), and HDA lobbyist Keith Nelson met with Representative Michael C. Burgess and Senator Ted Cruz on Tuesday, September 16 in Washington DC. The meetings were in regards to a bill that could afford hobby distillers the same legal rights as hobby brewers and winemakers.
Nelson and Morris had the opportunity to speak with Senator Cruz’s aide, Hunter Rome, as well as with Cruz himself. Cruz expressed interest in the topic in part due to his time as the director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) years ago. In fact, Cruz recently visited a winery in Stonewall, TX for a round table with representatives from the Texas wine industry. Morris felt that today’s meeting with Cruz was positive overall.
“Obviously, they won’t commit until they see the language of the bill, but I think we’re on the right track,” Morris stated. “Cruz was very friendly and personable. All in all, I’d say this was a positive experience.”
Morris and Nelson also met with Representative Burgess to discuss any potential concerns related to the effects of legalizing home distilling. Due to his background in medicine, Burgess did in fact have concerns about the dangers of methanol poisoning. Therefore, the HDA provided him with a safety sheet which includes facts and figures that directly address common concerns regarding alcohol distillation. Burgess will have his aides conduct additional research on the topic to verify that the HDA’s investigations of each safety concern meet his standards.
“We’ll follow up with Burgess to help them with any information they may need,” Morris explained.
The next focus for the HDA is to prepare for their meeting with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which is scheduled for Tuesday, September 23. Three members of the HDA Membership Committee in addition to lobbyist Nelson will meet in Washington DC with the administrator of the TTB. We will keep you updated on any new developments as the news rolls in.