27 May 2016
BOISE, ID (May 26, 2015) — Boise-based Powderhaus Brewing Company recently helped push forward the passing of an amendment to House Bill No. 597, which prohibited individuals under the age of 21 from entering licensed breweries. The new law, which reverses the previous legislation, will go into effect July 2016.
Powderhaus co-owner Lisa Schmidt and other industry colleagues felt the former law limited the growth of Idaho’s microbreweries and change needed to happen. “I didn’t understand why Idaho wineries could let people under 21 onto their property, but breweries couldn’t,” she said. “We have clients who want to host weddings and other large family events at breweries. But they’ve been hesitant because under-aged members of their families wouldn’t be able to attend.”
The changes to House Bill No. 597 amend the existing law to define “winery” and “brewery”, and now allow individuals under 21 to enter or be on the premises of licensed breweries where beer is consumed. The amendment was signed by Governor Butch Otter on April 5, 2016.
Schmidt also had other motives for wanting the law to change. When they founded Powderhaus in 2015, the Schmidts wanted to start a business that would involve their kids and grandkids, and could be passed on to future generations, she said. “I have three sons and five grandsons,” Schmidt said. “My grandkids wanted to help unload boxes, cut grass and assist with other tasks around the brewery, but legally they just couldn’t.”
Fortunately for Schmidt, she had a connection to Idaho Senator Chuck Winder. He is not only an Air Force veteran like her and her husband, retired Lieutenant General Mark Schmidt, but also sold them the land on Chinden Boulevard for the brewery. Schmidt submitted a proposal to Winder that amended House Bill 597, and Winder helped rally support from the community and other congressmen.
“This is a great success for Idaho breweries,” Schmidt said. “Idaho Brewers United has worked on getting this legislation through for a long time and I’m glad Powderhaus was able to play a part in the process.”