Religion

Why the South Has So Few Breweries

The nine states with the fewest breweries are all in the South, and there’s an explanation for that: the Baptists.

Steve Gohmann, a professor of economics at the University of Louisville, recently published a paper in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice about why the South is less hospitable to small breweries.

Across the country, big brewers contribute to political candidates who support restrictions—such as bans on self-distribution–that make it difficult for small breweries to compete with them. What makes the South unique is that it has a high concentration of Baptists, who support restrictions on alcohol on moral grounds. (The same is true of Methodists, who are also well-represented in the region.) Thus pastors and big breweries are unlikely political bedfellows.

But what about the Kentucky-based whiskey industry? Gohmann observes that micro-distilleries are not taking much market share from the big producers, which means Baptists don’t have as much influence when it comes to regulating spirits.

Indiana Beer Bar Owner’s Support for LGBT Rights

Last week, Indiana governor Mike Pence signed Senate Bill 101, which would prevent state and local governments from “substantially burdening” a person’s exercise of religion unless the government can prove it has a compelling interest and is doing so in the least restrictive means. Critics contend that the law gives business owners a license to discriminate, especially against gays and lesbians.

Businessman Scott Wise, who owns the Scotty’s Brewhouse chain in Indiana, wrote an open letter explaining his opposition to the law. After identifying himself as a born-again Christian, Wise went on to say, “Several of my employees are openly gay, proud and happy” and that “I consider all of them my colleagues and even more so, my friends.” Wise called his guests’ sexual orientation “utterly unimportant in running a business, nor any of my personal business.”

Cyd Zeigler of OutSports.com has asked supporters of LBGT rights who’ll be in Indianapolis for this weekend’s Final Four to join him at Scotty’s downtown location Friday evening at 7 pm. The establishment is just a few blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium, where the games will be played.

The Friday Mash (Aspirin Edition)

On this day in 1899, Bayer AG trademarked the name “Aspirin” for its synthetic version of salicylic acid. Aspirin, an anti-inflammatory drug, is one of the world’s most widely-used medications: 40,000 metric tons are used each year.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Kentucky, which is best known for snow bourbon. However, a lively craft beer scene has emerged. Fourteen breweries have opened in the Bluegrass State since 2011.

CNBC is bringing back its Most Loved Beer Label contest. For the next week, citizens can nominate labels. The network will reveal the finalists on March 23, and voting will wind up two weeks later.

In Malaysia, non-alcoholic beer for Muslims is unacceptable to the chief halal certifier because he objects to the word “beer” to describe the drink.

Jay Brooks has published an ale-themed parody of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham. The closing lines are, “I do so love craft beer at home! Thank you! Thank you, Sam-Cala-Gione!”

CoolMaterial.com created a flowchart to guide people who can’t decide what their next beer should be. The first question is, “Are you looking to get drunk and don’t care about taste?”

Beer festivals attract people dressed as court jesters, ballerinas, superheroes, and even giant chickens. MLive.com’s John Serba offers five ridiculous, but practical costume suggestions.

Finally, Eleanor Robertson stirred up a hornets’ nest with an op-ed condemning craft beer. Robertson hates its taste, can’t stand beer snobs, and would rather talk to her friends than her beer.

Beer Finds Religion

With a growing number of young adults rejecting organized religion, some clergy members have found a way to woo them back. They’re serving faith with a beer chaser. One of the largest “brew-ligious” movements is “Pub Theology” which, in a few short years, has grown to more than 140 groups in 41 states.

Clerics have brought their message into pubs; and some, like Rabbi Eli Freedman and Episcopal priest Kirk Berlenbach, have even affiliated themselves with homebrew clubs.

Berlenbach points out that only about one-third that of all the references in the New Testament to alcohol are negative; and the negativity is aimed at drunkenness, not drinking itself. The New Testament doesn’t mention beer, but the Jewish Talmud frequently refers to it. In fact, around 400 A.D., a rabbi warned his congregation to avoid beer brewed by non-Jews because it could lead to intermarriage.

Freedman isn’t following the ancient rabbi’s advice. His homebrew club joined forces with Berlach’s to form Interfaith Brewing. Their collaboration beer, served at a Purim celebration, was given the wonderful name Ecclesiastes 3:1—To Everything There’s a Saison.

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