Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Your tax dollars at work

Did anyone else see this?

It looks like two beer loving, US Senators, Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) (tough name, by the way) and Max Baucus (D-Montana), want to get in on some of the action had by the House Small Brewers Caucus—who, amazingly, have a website. Aside from the obvious excuse for a little bi-partisan beer drinking, could our elected officials actually be doing something to improve the business side of craft beer? The Brewer's Association thinks so. It makes sense really, think about what goes into making and distributing a single bottle of beer. There is a lot of industry affected by beer making. Alan gets into the global aspect of beer as a recession buster, but think about it at a local level, too. In fact, the whole local slant is what makes craft brewing unique, as economic stimulus. Most craft beer is made and consumed pretty close to home. If the beer's raw ingredients come from the guy down the road—even better, it's like a beery victory garden. You might as well build your local economy, it's eventually going to have an affect on the bigger picture. Take Brown's Brewing Co., in Troy New York as an example—a few years back they established their own hop farm in Hoosick Falls, New York. They started with 800 rhizomes and went from there. They, along with Groveside Natural Farms in Pittstown, Pedersen Farms in Ontario County and The Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, are helping to rebuild the hop production industry in New York—an industry, mind you, that up until two or three years ago was dead for nearly a hundred years. Think about how many jobs "beer" employs in just those four places, let alone peripherally. Corporate bail-outs and tax relief are one thing, but sometimes change—even change to something as monstrous as the US economy—can start small. It wouldn't be the first time beer saved the world.

If the impetus for this caucus was to simply drink beer—great. If it's just to get votes, okay, at least the craft beer word is getting out. But if these two politicos really are trying to help small breweries, then I think craft brewing might just become the revolution it's always wanted to be. The brewers are going to have to do the hard part, but a little greasing of the wheels might help. There's only one stumbling block, well two actually—the rest of The United States Senate and the United State House of Representatives.

Bring beer boys, you're going to need it in Washington.

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