WASHINGTON — President Jimmy Carter famously didn't drink when he was in office. In fact, he reportedly didn't allow alcohol in the White House.
But, check in with just about any local brewery and you're likely to hear a brew master toasting a little known part of Carter's legacy.
When it comes to craft beer, before any sip there is the science.
"How you hone your skills is by setting a target and hitting it every single time," said Daniel Terrones, the head brewer at D.C.'s Other Half Brewing.
But, Terrones will admit his first batch missed the mark.
"I couldn't have butchered it any worse. The only person who said she liked it was my mom," he recalled with a laugh.
That was countless recipes and several years ago when he got his start like a lot of commercial brewers by brewing at home.
"The link between home brewing and the craft beer world is solid as stone," he said.
Kim Bender with the D.C. Brewers Guild agrees.
"The modern craft beer industry that we know today comes out of this craft knowledge which just could not have been accumulated or really passed down and understood in an illegal environment," she said.
Home brewing was illegal until Jimmy Carter – America's teetotaling 39th President – signed H.R. 1337 and essentially lifted 50 years of prohibition regulations on home brewing that made it possible for hobbyist to legally brew at home.
"So, once homebrewing was made legal it allowed people to really develop their craft and then open these craft breweries that we know today," said Bender. "I would say that that transformed the ability to brew beer in the United States."
"I don't think that enough people show love like they should," said Terrones the head brewer. "That one little tweak that seemed insignificant at the time gave birth to this massive industry that is my calling."
"We owe all of this to President Carter for opening this up and making it legal," Terrones said.
“Cheers, and thank you to an American homebrew hero, President Jimmy Carter," said Julia Herz, Executive Director of the American Homebrewers Association in a statement to WUSA9.
Read the full statement on Carter below:
"When President Carter signed HR 1337 in 1978, it inspired the American Homebrewers Association in its future endeavors to advocate for the legalization of homebrewing in all 50 states. That vision was finally realized in 2013. With more people being able to brew at home, hundreds of thousands of people have discovered how homebrewing makes life more delicious along with the reward and pure joy of making their own beer."
“Today, the American Homebrewers Association and other homebrew organizations continue to pursue fair usage homebrew laws across the country. Even with homebrewing being legal in all 50 states, some states still have legislation that makes it difficult to be a homebrewer. Antiquated laws that restrict transporting and sharing homebrew are at the forefront of homebrew legislation initiatives these days.”