Art of Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson

California State FlagThe State of California today announced bold, bipartisan action in support of craft brewing.

Responding to the continuing drought conditions in the state, coupled with less than expected rainfall relief from an El Niño season, California has enacted several new programs and policies to help the state’s craft brewers and craft beer drinkers.

California has established the first Craft Brew Excess Water Exchange in the nation. The exchange encourages other states to trade surplus water, including water in the form of snow, for increased access to craft beers brewed in the state. The program is intended to ensure a reliable supply of water for California craft breweries. “California has a history of acquiring water from states which may not be able to use it productively, like Arizona,” one official stated.

“The new snow pack exchange would allow states with extra water for access to our excellent craft brews, along with brewing supplies including brewery-branded shirts, caps, and growlers. We cannot confirm specific details, though California is currently talking with several other states. There is an expectation the program, once established, could work with other nations as well as within the United States. “We believe in other countries as a future market for our craft beers. California is ready and willing to trade for their excess water.”

The official also stated California is currently negotiating agreements with craft brewers in the state.

In addition to trading for excess water from other jurisdictions, California has enacted a Craft Brewing Water Priority Policy. The new policy spells out which ways water is used in the state could supersede other uses in the event further restrictions become necessary.

The policy is intended to clarify and to reduce the intensity of political arguments over water in California, according to state officials. “We wanted to ensure craft brewers have the resources they need, even if it means less water for individual bathing, generating electricity, or other uses. If we were not committed to using water for craft brewing, Californians might end up being forced to drink wine instead. We would do almost anything to avoid that outcome,” one official commented.

The broad support for these initiatives may indicate openness to more bipartisan cooperation in California state politics.

Sources close to the Governor’s Office confirmed there is hope craft brewing may be a significant factor is building consensus in the state. “We look forward to a day in the near future when we are not divided into red counties and blue counties, but can agree on a range of ideas from pale through amber to nut brown. This could be the model for how we address issues across the country.”

California craft brewing as an outline for national political progress? It almost sounds like political science fiction. We will have to wait and see what ferments.

April Fools! There is no fool like a craft brewing fool.

Greg Richardson is a leadership and organizational coach, and a spiritual life mentor, in Pasadena, California. He is passionate about craft brewing, listening, and monks and monastic life. Greg is a recovering attorney, executive, and university professor. Greg’s website is and he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk. You can email Greg at

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