By Tommy Andres, CNN
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Montgomery, Alabama (CNN) - Despite the fact that it has been federally legal since 1979, there are still two U.S. states that don't allow residents to make beer in their own homes: Alabama and Mississippi.
The issue is expected to be one of the first to surface in Alabama's state legislature as lawmakers there head back to session this week, and a colorful standoff is likely.
Homebrew laws have failed to materialize for the past five years, with religion and morality arguments narrowly beating out the estimated 5,000 underground homebrewers in the state who say their civil liberties are on the line.
Kraig Torres owns a craft beer store in Birmingham, called Hop City. He learned first-hand that the law against homebrewing is still enforced. Homebrew supplies he planned to sell were confiscated by state authorities the day before he opened in September:
[:45] "I think anyone agrees this is not so much a beer issue as a civil liberties issue. Things you can do commercially for money in the state of Alabama, why can't you do in your kitchen legally? It'd be like saying you can only buy cherry pies at a bakery instead of making them in your kitchen."
Leading the charge against the bill is the Alabama Citizens Action Program, or ALCAP. Its leader, Joe Godfrey, has been lobbying against any law that relaxes alcohol laws in the state:
[4:14] "I've met with some of the homebrewers and they tell me, 'Oh, we're fine upstanding citizens. We go to church, we're active in our community, we don't overindulge, we don't get drunk.' Well, they might not, but I've never met an alcoholic that started out saying, 'I'm going to become an alcoholic.' They start out socially drinking. They start out homebrewing and tasting."
Homebrew laws have previously passed in the Alabama state Senate and House of Representatives respectively the past two years. But not in both. Hobbyists hope this will finally be their year. But it won't be easy, because one thing is for certain: this issue is much bigger than beer.