A sneak preview of Wednesday's editorial:
The next time you hear someone extol the virtues of nimble, business-friendly state government, remember 10 Barrel Brewing Co.
The Bend, Ore., brewery secured a state Department of Lands lease in November, with plans to operate a pub at a state-owned building in Downtown Boise.
Soon after, 10 Barrel encountered a snag. A “certificate of approval” allows 10 Barrel to bring in beer brewed in Oregon, but the Idaho State Police says state law prohibits the brewery from selling this beer at its pub.
Now, 10 Barrel is seeking to hammer out a solution. But if the law needs to be rewritten — which it very well might — then nothing is going to happen until the 2013 legislative session. By then, 10 Barrel will have spent well over a year in regulatory purgatory, while the state holds onto a $50,000 deposit on 10 Barrel’s building lease.
That’s a long time for a business to wait on the sidelines.
We’re not suggesting the state should turn a blind eye to its liquor laws — no matter how obtuse they are. If the law prohibits bottlers from selling beer at their own bars, then ISP’s Alcohol Beverage Control division has no recourse but to enforce the law.
The problem — and what has 10 Barrel over a barrel of bureaucracy — is that no one managed to connect the dots and give the brewery a heads up before it signed a 15-year lease. For that, the ISP and the Lands Department can share the blame.
It shouldn’t be difficult to cobble together language that accommodates the growing microbrewery industry. The current law is counterproductive — and confusing. As 10 Barrel has learned, the hard way.