Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Personal ethics.
We hear that term thrown around a lot. It's almost a buzzword, well, buzzphrase.
What about professional ethics?
I had a customer in our tasting room the other evening. It was just him and I and we began talking about the recent bill that passed to increase the amount of alcohol Montana breweries can produce and sell, HB400. This patron made his point that it was kind of silly to pass this since most breweries in Montana already product beers WELL in excess of 7% alcohol by weight (the current state limit). He even cited some examples into the double digits! I told him not all Montana breweries were thumbing their nose at the current law. He said to me "Name one that isn't currently making strong beer". I put my hand up. He pish-poshed me.

The examples this man gave were well known. I'm sure there are many readers out there that know of at least two breweries who have or are making beer in Montana stronger than 7%.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not coming from the "Carrie Nation" camp (google it!). I'd love to make beer for sale 14, 15, 21%! Push the boundaries of malt and yeast!
Yet the fact remains: these are the rules we agreed to play by when we started this brewery, just like every other Montana brewer. You don't like being restricted to 7%? Lobby to change it! You don't like having to stop serving pints at 8:00pm? Lobby to change it! Don't just ignore the law and the rules and do whatever the hell you feel like doing. I guess the point of this little tirade is that these brewers could ruin it for the rest of us. The fallout of these callous actions could have a very real impact on ALL the Montana brewers. This is a tough enough business and we're restricted enough.

your humble brewer

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