We’ve been doing the usual around here…making beer, canning beer, cleaning kegs, doing tastings, festivals and tap takeovers, and talking to politicians.
Okay, so we don’t talk to politicians every day. In fact, we really try to stay away from most things political, but things have changed lately. As members of the Brewer’s Association, we’ve been diligent about contacting our legislators regarding our brewery and brewing legislation.
At the Craft Brewer’s Conference in San Diego this year we had the opportunity to talk with Representative Pete DeFazio of Oregon a passionate voice for craft beer on Capitol Hill. Pete loved our story…the fact that we brewed in barn. In fact, he wanted to make sure that Brian met his friend Jim Koch (maybe you’ve heard of him…he started a little craft brewery known as Samuel Adams). We promised Pete that we would contact our own US Representative Jo Ann Emerson and share our story and our BARn with her.
Just this week, we had the opportunity to host Representative Emerson and her staff at the BARn as part of her annual agriculture tour. Brian was away sharing beer with our craft beer loving friends in Arkansas, but that didn’t stop me from sharing the story of how we renovated a 70-year old barn on our farm and started brewing small batches of beer in it.
I showed everyone our fat and happy girlfriends that consume our spent grains.
And of course, we sampled the beer!
As a politician, Jo Ann has ample opportunity to serve her constituents, and she even tried out the tap handles behind the bar, talking about a fund raiser she does annually where she serves beer.
Of course, I took the opportunity to thank Jo Ann for her support of the Small Brew Act, legislation that seeks a recalibration of the federal excise tax for small brewers. If the legislation were approved, it would provide us with additional funds to invest in growing Piney River Brewing.
I explained to Jo Ann that we regularly bring people in to Texas County to visit our brewery and get a taste of the Ozarks–literally. I also pointed out that in addition to living the American dream with our brewery, Piney River Brewing is an all-American endeavor. “You can’t outsource locally brewed beer to China,” I told Jo Ann.
Jo Ann gave me a hug before she left. She was so impressed with what she found behind our barn doors. She even mentioned that she would like to get some Piney River beer for a Capitol Hill reception with fellow representatives later in the year. We certainly hope we can provide Piney Pints for Jo Ann, Representative De Fazio, and anyone else that wants to enjoy a truly American beverage that can cross all political lines.
While we’re on the subject, I should also mention that we made sure the McCaskill sisters got some of the freshly canned Black Walnut Wheat when Claire McCaskill made a recent stop in Houston. Claire hasn’t been to the brewery, but we were lucky enough to host Lisa and Ann last fall. What a pleasure!
And last but not least, a keg of Black Walnut Wheat was made available for a special dinner Missouri’s Governor Jay Nixon hosted last week at the Missouri State Fair. We understand that our Texas County brewed beer was enjoyed by several!
Brian and I often tell others that we love being in the beer business because beer makes people happy. There’s something else we’ve realized, too in this year of contentious political debate…Beer is bipartisan.
Special cheers to Doug Davison from The Houston Herald who took part in the tour and tasting on Friday. He took photos and shared them with me!