Lawmakers consider allowing minors in breweries

Posted at 5:48 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 19:48:53-05

Idaho breweries are on their way to being more family friendly as state lawmakers look to lift restrictions on minors getting access to the places where beer is made.

Spinning cans and pumping tubes, it’s a flurry of activity inside the Sockeye Brewing brewery. It's a world fans of craft beer love to get an inside peek to.

"There's a personal connection made when somebody sees firsthand how a product is made," said Sockeye marketing director Mark Breske.

Breske says tours of the brewery room are common: “Basically anyone who wants to see the brewery we let them come by and check it out."

Unless you're under 21.

The age restriction doesn’t apply just to consumption of beer. Under Idaho law, only those of legal drinking age can check out how beer is made. But that may change.

Representative Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, brought forward a bill eliminating the age restriction.

"It's really the growth of the craft brewing industry that drives this and people's interest in the craft brewing industry and how these processes are made," he said.

If the bill passes, beer tours could become a family affair -- something the folks as Sockeye think is good. After all, a brewery is in essence a grown-up science lab.

"In here we have chemistry, microbiology, engineering, large-scale production,” said Breske. “It's part of the service industry. Somebody could walk in here and get a lot of different feels for what they may want to do or what interests them."

There may not be field trips to your local brewery in the near future, but it could open the way to spark inspiration into the next generation.

The bill also levels the playing field between breweries and wineries. For the past two decades minors have been able to see the process of turning grapes into wine.