Nevada Craft Beverage Passport aims to spur local business and agriculture

Nevada Craft Beverage Passport aims to spur local business and agriculture
IMBĪB Custom Brews bartender Ashley Cihak serves Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak a pint of lager on Feb. 25, 2022. This beer features 100% Nevada grown barley and malted in Fallon, NV at 40 Mile Malt. Image: Richard Bednarski / This Is Reno

By Richard Bednarski

RENO — Next time you drink a beer from a local brewery be sure to ask about the Nevada Craft Beverage Passport. The new partnership between Made In Nevada, the Nevada Department of Agriculture, and 37 breweries, distilleries and wineries will make for an exciting year in craft beverage tasting across the state.

Breweries such as IMBĪB Custom Brews, Pigeon Head and the Black Rabbit Mead Company have all pledged to produce craft beverages from local ingredients.

“Nevada businesses have been hit really hard during the pandemic,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said at a kickoff event for the passport held in Reno on Friday. He is hopeful this program can reinvigorate both craft alcohol business as well as statewide agriculture.

Sisolak visited IMBĪB in Reno to launch the passport. Matt Johnson and Jason Green, co-founders of IMBĪB, have brewed a beer using 100% Nevada grown barley, malted in Fallon at 40 Mile Malt. They’ve been brewing for nearly seven years.

Though the hops are not from the state, Johnson said he is proud to have brewed a beer that is malt-centric. It is a pre-prohibition style lager that highlights the flavor of the grain. He named it after the first line of the state’s song, Land of the Setting Sun.

The passport encourages people to collect 37 stamps from across the state. Each location will feature a beverage made with Nevada ingredients. Many locations will also feature a special deal to take advantage of when getting a stamp.

“I encourage everyone that is watching to please get out and support IMBĪB and the other businesses that we’re talking about,” Sisolak said. He urged everyone to do so safely and joked to not visit every location at the same time.

Passports are available at all participating locations as of Friday, Feb. 25. The goal is to provide a fun, educational yet rewarding time exploring Nevada’s craft beverage industry. According to the NDA, locations using locally-sourced ingredients are featured more prominently.

“It has prompted a lot of us to think about local ingredients,” said Johnson. “The world barley crop this year has been decimated by drought and fire and heat.” He said he is looking forward to using more Nevada grown barley. 

Johnson said he’s also excited for the potential of a renewed interest in local ingredients and looks forward to seeing the passport program grow.

Other local choices in the passport include Black Rabbit Mead Company and 10 Torr Brewery and Distillery. Nevada Sunset Winery has been crafting wines using Nevada-grown grapes since 2018. Local distilleries such as Seven Troughs and High Mark Distillery are also on the list.

Each passport will be eligible for various awards at the end of the year. The more stamps, the bigger the prize passport holders can redeem.

Each visit to any participating business earns a stamp. Stamps can be collected through Dec. 31, 2022 and must be mailed to NDA by Jan. 5, 2023.

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