Beer Cheese, Ale-8 Considered for Official Designation in General Assembly

The bluegrass region of Kentucky: famous for thoroughbreds—and beer cheese?

Among Kentucky’s pressing issues—from underfunded pensions to Medicaid managed care—the General Assembly is also considering legislation that designates Clark County as the birthplace of beer cheese. For those unfamiliar with spread, know that it’s exactly what you think it is.

As with bourbon and horses, beer cheese can bring tourists, legislators said.

Senate Minority Floor Leader R.J. Palmer—a Democrat from Winchester, the Clark county seat—said beer cheese helps his community’s economy.

“We had 6,000 people in Winchester, Ky., for a beer cheese festival,” Palmer said.

“I love it.  Six thousand people on Main Street in Winchester. We’ve got time to do these things while we’re here.”

He’s speaking to the notion that legislators have bigger issues to tackle in 2013 than beer cheese. 

State Rep. Alice Kerr, chair of the House Economic Development, Tourism and Labor Committee, and Palmer said beer cheese is a worthy matter for legislative consideration because it regards tourism.

And the beer cheese issue is not the only one of its kind.

The House committee also moved to designate Ale-Eight-One as the official Kentucky original soft drink.  The beverage was first produced in Winchester in 1902. 

Sen. Jimmy Higdon, a Lebanon Republican, said he and his grandson traveled through each of Kentucky’s 120  counties.  Later, Higdon asked his grandson what were his most memorable moments during the 5,000-mile trip—and the soft drink was one of them.

Identical bills are moving through the Kentucky House.  The soft drink measure passed the House unanimously.

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