Why Can’t Native Americans Make Whiskey?

Image courtesy of  New York Times

Image courtesy of New York Times

R Street's Jarrett Dieterle and Kevin Kosar took to the pages of the New York Times this week to explain why Native Americans are still not allowed to distill on tribal lands. The reason traces back to an antiquated 1834 federal law, which they argue its far past time to repeal:

In 2016, the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, in southeastern Washington State, began selling craft spirits and beer at a restaurant in their Lucky Eagle casino. But when the Chehalis wanted to start making their own hooch, the federal government said no.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs informed the tribe that federal law prohibits the building of a distillery on tribal grounds. The Chehalis would have to continue to purchase spirits from producers off the reservation.

Small-scale distilling is a booming business, providing much-needed jobs and revenue for state and local governments. So why are Indian tribes legally prevented from joining in? ...

Read the whole piece here.