Oh, Oregon, land of the rose and sunshine, land of the summer’s breeze – and now – land of the Brewer’s Yeast!
Yes, the great state of Oregon is the first in the nation to officially adopt a state microbe – and – you guessed it – it’s Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Gaston 2013). Brewer’s Yeast now joins the Chinook Salmon, American Beaver, Douglas Fir, and Western Meadowlark, among others, as one of the official representatives of the great state of Oregon.
Oregon’s attempt to adopt a state microbe is not unprecedented. Wisconsin proposed to adopt Lactococcus lactis (bacteria essential to making cheese) and Hawaii proposed Flavobacterium akiainvivens (a bacterium unique to Hawaii), but these attempts have thus far been unsuccessful. Perhaps Oregon chose the path of Yeast resistance?
Oregon’s salute to this unassuming unicelluar organism is really quite fitting considering its contribution to the state economy (2.4 billion dollar craft beer industry) and to the happiness of the constituents of the Beaver State – as well as those in states outside Oregon who are lucky enough to have access to some of its great beers – I’m thinking Deschutes, Ninkasi, Rogue, Full Sail, Widmer… You can check out more of Oregon’s craft breweries at Oregon’s Craft Beer Month, July 2013.
So, here’s to you Oregon: Yo! You’re awesome, you’ve one-upped us all.
And, last, but by all means not yeast (or maybe it is), here’s to S. cerevisiae – State Microbe of Oregon – Cheers!