Worthy of celebration

The CN&R’s nod to craft brewing and its positive impacts on Chico

While the CN&R celebrates America’s favorite alcoholic beverage through our first-ever Beer Issue and its accompanying Chico Beer Week, there is, of course, a giant elephant in the room: Chico’s drinking problem.

In fact, we probably couldn’t have picked a more controversial time to publish a Beer Issue. On the one hand, local business owners and members of our vibrant music community are upset over the proposed rules to help regulate businesses that serve alcohol. And on the other hand, entities like Chico State and the city are looking for ways to curb alcohol abuse.

We’re not encouraging binge drinking, nor do we want to condone it.

We know about the six recent alcohol-related deaths of college students, and we know there’s a local binge-drinking problem (the 2012 Healthy Minds Study showed that Chico State students “are almost double the national average when it comes to binge drinking” compared to other colleges).

But there’s a large part of Chico that is not defined by the party-’til-you-puke culture. Indeed, there are plenty of ways in which beer is a positive part of Chico’s identity. Think about the pioneering Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and its community-minded, environmentally conscious policies; its employment of hundreds of Chicoans; and, of course, its world-famous brews we enjoy straight from the source.

Chico is an active and social town, and we love few things more than communing over beers around the barbecue, at a concert, or at one of the many Chico bars and restaurants that fuel our economy.

The vast majority of us are able to partake without setting any fires, throwing anything at the police or putting ourselves in life-threatening situations. And this Beer Issue—and the ensuing Chico Beer Week—is for us. Just drink responsibly, and please don’t drink and drive.