By CEcILiA CHAN, GSN Managing Editor
Garrett Glover’s favorite beverage nowadays is lemonade – which is fitting as he’s pushing to make it Arizona’s official drink.
The 18-year-old Gilbert teen got the ear of state Rep. Warren Petersen, who’s sponsoring House Bill 2692 to make it so.
“I just think it would be a good acknowledgment of agriculture, citrus production in the state, as it is one of our five C’s,” the Gilbert Classical Academy senior said.
Arizona’s five C’s are copper, cattle, cotton, citrus and climate.
Agriculture is a $23.3 billion industry in the state, according to the 2018 annual report from the Arizona Department of Agriculture. The state is second only to California in producing 95 percent of the United States’ lemon crop.
Arizona already has more than a dozen official symbols: the state firearm is a Colt single action Army revolver; the official neckwear is the bolo tie; and the state tree is a palo verde. It even has a state dinosaur, the Sonorasaurus, by way of Senate Bill 1517, which the governor signed last year.
Still, Arizona lacked an official state drink.
Of the 50 states, 30 have an official drink ranging from Alabama’s Conecuh Ridge Alabama Fine Whiskey to Indiana’s official drink, water. Nebraska has two state drinks, milk and Kool-Aid. In all, 19 states picked milk as their official drink.
And because Florida already laid claim to orange juice, Glover wanted something different for Arizona.
“I just think it would be better to have something no one else has,” he said. “We would be copying other states. Arizona is extremely unique. We’ve got Flagstaff and Phoenix — very different vibes. Florida doesn’t have much variety. Having lemonade makes Arizona stick out much more.”
Glover embarked on his endeavor last year following a casual phone conversation with his friend Mandy Amansone, who lived in Wisconsin.
“She was talking about all the breweries in Wisconsin and said that beer was the state drink,” Glover recalled. “I didn’t trust her and fact-checked her.”
He found out Wisconsin’s state drink is milk and during his research he discovered Arizona didn’t have a designated beverage.
“I felt that I should change that so we could have a state drink,” said Glover, who previously drank Arnold Palmer iced tea and lemonade.
He drove over to the Capitol in search of a legislator. It was June and the legislative session had ended the month before, so Glover drove home and went on his computer to find out who his local representative was.
“I sent Petersen an email and he responded. He thought it was a good idea,” Glover said. “I was pretty sure I would get a response but I wasn’t expecting a ‘yes.’”
The two communicated via email, finally arranging for a face-to-face meeting in January.
“Before he decided to fully go forward with this bill, he wanted to hear more of my reason about it to make sure it was not just a random joke,” said Glover, who is a member of Gilbert Classical Academy’s political studies club, an informal gathering of students who discuss current events.
Petersen, who’s also a Gilbert resident, recalled he was open to the idea when the teen contacted him.
“I told him he needed to come back just before the next session to sell me on it,” Petersen said.
The Republican lawmaker said he didn’t see the request as a joke. He was a co-sponsor of the state dinosaur bill when he served in the Senate.
“He shared all of the reasons he felt lemonade would be a good fit for Arizona,” Petersen said of his January meeting with Glover. “I set expectations for him. I let him know it is not easy to get a bill passed regardless of the idea and that he needed to come testify at committee hearings to make sure the bill moves forward.”
Petersen said he enjoyed helping constituents with their issues and that Glover convinced him lemonade was a good fit for Arizona.
“I also felt it was a good way to show a student the legislative process,” Petersen said. “I have been very impressed with Garrett.
“First, he was diligent in following up after a long period of time passing,” the lawmaker explained. “Second, he has handled himself very professionally in committee hearings and media interviews. (And) third, he has been respectful to those who have wanted other drinks to be named.”
For instance, Sen. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson, in April attempted to amend the bill to make margarita the official state drink but her peers sided with lemonade instead.
The bill is awaiting a third read on the Senate floor before going to the governor’s desk, according to Petersen.
“I think the likelihood the bill passes is very high,” he said.
If the bill passes, Mesquite Elementary School plans to throw a lemonade party, said Glover, who attended that school, as his younger brother does currently.
Glover, whose favorite pastime includes talking to friends and listening to music of all genres, is now preparing for his next step in life – college.
He’s been accepted to Arizona State University and West Virginia University, which has offered him a sizeable amount of scholarship money.
His interest includes becoming a pilot, going into politics or agricultural studies.
“Agricultural studies is not one of my big interests or passion,” he said. “I just like nature and we’ve all got to eat so growing food will be a job in the future.”