Do We Need a State Microbe?

No one doubts that Wisconsin is America's Dairyland (except in Tillamook County), nor that Georgia is for peaches in much the way Idaho is for russets and Maine for lobsters.  But will Oregon be known for microbes if state representative Mark Johnson has his way?
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a Latin mouthful commonly known as brewer's yeast, could become the official state microbe, joining the ranks of the beaver, western meadowlark and the thunderegg as an official state symbol. Rep. Mark Johnson, R-Hood River, brought the idea to the Legislature as a way to celebrate the state's microbrew movement. His district is home to some of the state's most popular breweries.
(Incidentally, I'd like to point out that it's April 4, not 1.  This is not a fake.)  Someone should probably have pointed out that the microbe does triple duty; it ferments wine as well and is also the organism that gives bread dough a rise.  Come on, Representative Johnson, get your blocs together! 

The real questions are these: 1) do state symbols really do anything, and 2) is this really more pressing than higher ed funding and PERS reform?  As to the first question, I suppose a small number of state symbols do benefit homegrown industry: probably hazelnuts and cranberries get a boost by local boosterism.  It is difficult to imagine that a creature no one can see with their naked eye (except in the collective) and a name no one can pronounce could be of much use.  Wyeast Labs would probably be pretty psyched, though.  (Take that, Chris White!)  As to the second: no. 

Ah, it's a slow beer news Thursday, isn't it?

Jeff Alworth5 Comments