Knowing Nevada: Microbrewing Limitations in Nevada

The oldest operating brewery in Nevada could produce tens of thousands of barrels of beer each year, law permitting.

Great Basin Brewing Company, however, is limited to just 15,000 barrels a year.

This is the law for every brew pub in Nevada.

"Unfortunately some of the laws we have at this point in the state are behind some of the other states," says Brewmaster Tom Young.

Great Basin Brewing Company may be the oldest operating brew pub in Nevada, but the roots a beer making go back Virginia City from more than 100 years ago.

When mining hit the Comstock in the mid-1850's, 27 breweries and more than 100 saloons opened shop in the historic town.

"We still have about 12, 13 saloons here in town that people who are from the area know too well," says Virginia City Tourism Director Demy Dotson.

Once the mining industry slowed down, however, so did the brewing.

After prohibition, brew pubs were not legally recognized in major counties like Washoe until the early 1990s.

The focus now is to change the barrel cap.

In Colorado, the maximum a brew pub can produce is 60,000 barrels are year, much larger than Nevada's 15,000.

"I think the production restriction is a no-brainier," says Young. "There is no logical argument why we should be restricted as to how much beer we could sell and produce in Nevada and we'll get that across this session I'm sure too."

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