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Idaho response to microbreweries has been flat.

Iowa response to microbreweries has been flat

The response to the new brewpubs industry created by the Idaho Legislature in 1987 so far has been flat, with only one Coeur d'Alene entrepreneur taking advantage of the expansive addition to the state code.

But a Sun Valley-area microbrewery may someday exercise its option to open up its own brewpub. And beer afficionados say Boise is close to opening a handful of pubs where customers can watch the suds being made.

"Right now, we're seeing who's going to break out first," said DeWaine Hughes, owner of the Brewer's Connection, a home brewery supplier in Boise. "Once one opens, we'll have six in a year."

"It was the reason I got into the business," said Tom Fisher, owner of T.W. Fisher's pub in Coeur d'Alene. Fisher is brimming with success, having twice doubled the capacity of his brewery since 1987 and capturing the prize for the nation's best pale ale at the Great American Beer Festival in 1988--the brewers' version of the Super Bowl or Kentucky Derby.

The brewpub law allows anyone who produces less than 30,000 barrels, or 930,000 gallons, per year to obtain a retail beer license. They can sell at retail in their brewery and one other "remote location."

An attorney general's opinion also lets them sell to retailers without having to be licensed as a wholesaler.

"The key to success for brewpubs is cautious growth," said Rep. Phil Childers (R-Boise), who introduced the legislation two years ago to give brewers even footing with the state's wine vintners.

"The brewpub is fairly inexpensive to open and you can do it well," said Childers, himself a homebrewer. "I think the one that's successful would brew solely for its own retail."

"The big thing is whether they open just a brewpub or offer a lot of food," Hughes said. "Then, you're talking big bucks."

Childers said he knew of one Boise enterprise that wanted to open a brewpub, but had not found the $150,000 it needed to start rolling out the barrels.

Up until Prohibition, the United States boasted hundreds of breweries, many of them run by German or Scandinavian immigrants who learned to make quality beer in Europe.

But Prohibition forced beer lovers into hiding. "Homebrewing" took on connotations of dangerous concoctions that tended to explode in their bottles. During World War II, women were the main customers and preferred lighter beers than the heavier lagers or stouts. Large breweries provided for their tastes and the smaller operations dried up, Childers said.
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Title Annotation:few retail brewpubs opening up
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jan 1, 1990
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Next Article:A-B's O'Doul's is rolled out nationally after strong initial sales in test markets.

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