Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Open Container: Mormon Beer

Posted By on September 8, 2010, 10:44 AM

An Idaho Mormon pushes for lower taxes on microbreweries.---

Due in large part to the thriving barley industry -- and to a lesser extent, hop farmers -- Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo is sponsoring a bill that would reduce the tax paid by beer brewers on their first 60,000 barrels. The bill would be especially helpful to the craft beer industry, which is also growing in Idaho.

What's notable is that Crapo is an active Mormon, something which he says is not an issue. In this Associated Press story, Crapo explains why he is supportive of small brewers, as well as others in the alcohol industry:

Crapo touted the tax cut for brewers during a recent appearance at the Portneuf Valley Brewing Co. in Pocatello and said his position is simple: He won't impose his own religious beliefs on others, especially when it could affect a growing industry.

"The (Idaho) wine industry is growing, too. I'll probably get asked to help the wine growers out. And I probably will."

The article also points to former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman as a Mormon who was supportive of loosened liquor laws. But it primarily focuses on Crapo and Idaho, where barley is a big industry, especially in southeastern Idaho. That's apparent just driving through Idaho Falls on I-15, where the towering Budweiser processing plant (or, at least, I think that's what is) is easily confused with the other prominent landmark, the Idaho Falls LDS Temple.

The AP reporter also talks to Mormon barley farmers, who say that they don't have an issue growing the base ingredient for a malted beverage. Primarily, their barley winds up as either Budweiser (or Bud Light) or Negro Modelo.

I suspect, though don't know, that a lot of the barley that eventually becomes Utah microbrews comes from Idaho. I have been told that a lot of the hops used by Utah brewers come from Idaho or Washington, and odds are some of those are grown by Mormons.

So, to that end, raise a toast to the Mormon farmers while sipping on the many beers to be found at the City Weekly Beer Festival this Saturday. (Sorry for the shameless plug, but this will be a fun event).

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Josh Loftin

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