The Economist celebrated the legality of homebrewing in its most recent issue. The last state to formally lift the prohibition on homemade beer, Mississippi, had its legislation approved in May and saw it come into effect on the first of this month. In the brief article, essentially a “huzzahs all around” piece that highlights one of the few fun aspects of our legal system, it also soberly reminded anyone residing in an enlightened state where homebrewing has been legal for ages that not all states are regulated the same. There are still plenty of states, that while technically allowing homebrewing, do so in a restricted fashion. From Oklahoma’s “This might take awhile” curbing the ABV of ones homemade beer to a paltry 3.2%, to New York (and other’s) inability to properly address homebrewing thus leaving it in legal limbo, there is still a wide gamut of rules for how you can make beer from coast to coast. One of the more peculiar limitations I found was with regards to Idaho, and their restriction of homebrew to be made only using ingredients produced within the state. The “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” mentality is fairly prevalent nowadays, including my own state of Pennsylvania, but Idaho has seemingly taken it to a whole new level. There doesn’t seem to be any explicable reason behind this domestic pride stipulation, other than perhaps some large grain producer within the state getting his hands on the bill before it hit the floor. I’ve heard of the northwest region being a large hop producer, but didn’t think that it extended into the hills of Idaho. This seems to be a token provision, however. Checking out Northerbrewer.com, a large online retailer of homebrew ingredients whose manufacture origin is vague at best, I found it ready and willing to ship to Idaho. Even Rocky Mountain Homebrew Supply operating out of Rigby, Idaho makes no mention on selling ingredients grown or made within the state, instead offering up Hops from New Zealand and Malts from Wisconsin. Maybe if you brew in Idaho with a buddy you can at least share a hand crafted brew with him and maintain a “Drink Fresh, Drink Local” mantra.
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