Make beer the official state drink of Washington
September 5, 2016 - 9:47 AM- by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog -
About five years ago I did a blog post proposing a crazy idea: make beer the official drink of Washington. I wrote that story in response to a bill that was, at the time, receiving consideration by the state legislature that would have made coffee the official state drink. Coffee? I thought the notion was absurd: we do not grow coffee in Washington, we just roast it and drink it like they do in every other state in the US. There is nothing uncommon or exceptional about our love of coffee. Nothing ever became of my idea to make beer our state drink, but now there's a petition that you can sign on Change.org to help make it a reality.
At first blush it sounds kind of silly and fun, but the idea of beer being our official state drink is not without merit. After all, Washington is the only state with an official Beer Commission, California is the only state with more breweries than Washington, and Washington produces the vast majority of the nation's annual hop crop. On top of all that, we consume a helluva lot a craft beer around here, outpacing the national average (of the beer we consume in Washington, the percentage that comes from craft breweries is higher than the national average).
Click here to sign the petition. If the petition gets enough signatures, it will be delivered to the state senate. Share the news using the hashtag #WA4Beer.
According to the petition:
The beer industry in WA contributes significantly to the economic vitality of our state. I propose Washington State recognize the significance of our natural resources and craft beer culture by officially adding "beer" as the State Drink.
· Hops grown in Washington account for 77 percent of the US hop crop; the US hop crop represents one third of the world’s hop crop (source: WA Brewers Guild)
· Washington State is ranked fifth in the nation’s top wheat producing states. In addition, wheat ranks number three in the Washington commodities based on production value, representing $1 billion. Washington is one of the nation’s leading wheat-exporting states, with 85 to 90 percent of its production exported each year. (source: WA Grain Commission).
· Washington State ranks 2nd in the US for total number of breweries, with 324 breweries now operating across Washington, generating approximately 15,000 full time jobs and $1.6 Billion in economic activity (source: Brewers Association)
· When coupled with the revenue generated by distributors and retailers, WA brewers economic impact totaled in excess of $6 billion (source: Beer Institute)
· Washington is the only state in the country that has an official Beer Commission: Washington Beer Commission. Established by the Washington State Legislature in 2006, it is the only commodity commission of its kind.
According to our own Washington State Legislature website, “Symbols are often adopted after a concerted effort by citizens to have a significant item recognized for its importance to the state.”
The craft beer industry does not show any signs of slowing down. We have a strong argument for recognizing our natural resources, especially hops and the enduring agricultural profile combined with the overall positive economic impact the brewing industry has on our state. Washington’s breweries, many of them small and family owned, are an integral part of their local communities, operating in all areas of our state
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