Idaho liquor laws produce another bureaucratic brew

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.

That's really Uptown Garden City.

"building in Downtown Boise"

In Downtown Boise? Is that a new city in Idaho?

RK, you have been hanging around Rocko too much.

Let's ask the experts.

DBA says their goal is to
•Attract new and diverse businesses, residents and development to downtown Boise,...


The building is located in Downtown. Statesman style is to capitalize the "D" in Downtown.

By the way, I'm not sure who RK is.

Kevin Richert
editorial page editor


KR writes, "the ISP and the Lands Department can share the blame."

KR, do you expect the Lands Department to know ANYTHING about the liquor laws?

Your statement here is ridiculous!

The problem is ISP has not resolved this type of problem within the liquor laws to prevent this situation. They could have done that way before 10 Barrels thought about entering Idaho--- But in the end, it is 10 Barrel's fault for their predicament.

Your premise is correct that there are many business-unfriendly laws in the state, this one included. And most are at the local level.

Just have

a shot of Five Wives and relax.

I suggest the State invoke the Obama Rule......

just decide not to enforce certain laws. Just claim you don't have the resources to enforce them all - who's going to argue otherwise? Problem solved.


State of Idaho, Boise City, Ada County: Waaaaah waaaaah waah... We hate money.

Who knew??

Thanks Kevin. I my view lets look at the Department of Commerce, the A.G. office and Butch's office needs to be more proactive. These sorts of Catch 22's often occur with intended regulation...times change and no one is equipped to adjust to the new reality. I guarantee you if MICRON had a similar regulatory issue it would get addressed ...pronto. Why can not the State grant a short term ( two year) waiver, while to Department of Commerce addresses the regulation that is causing more harm than benefit. Department of Lands can't even fight a fire without horrible a horrible outcome.