Over a Barrel – Brewers, Distributors Face Off Over State Beer Law Changes

Over a Barrel – Brewers, Distributors Face Off Over State Beer Law Changes

12:37pm May 15, 2015
Dave Goliszek, right, regional sales manager for Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem, delivers some fresh brew to Caffey Distributing. Andy Ritchie, first shift manager with Caffey, takes the delivery.
Julie Knight/The Triad Business Journal

North Carolina continues to attract attention as one of the fastest-growing states for craft brewing, with now more than 130 breweries calling it home.

But a provision of state law has put brewers and beer distributors at odds. Just this year, legislation was filed that would have allowed brewers to sell 100,000 barrels of their beer, or four times their current limit (25,000). It failed, but the debate hasn’t gone away.  

Reporter Owen Covington takes a look at this issue in this week’s Triad Business Journal.  He says as North Carolina’s beer economy booms, lobbying efforts are ramping up to get lawmakers to raise or completely remove the self-distribution caps for brewers.

“There are many that say I have grown this business and I want control over not just brewing the beer but the way it gets to market and they believe as independent businesses they should have  that option and not be forced to partner with an outside company”, says Covington.

But beer wholesalers argue that North Carolina’s distribution laws are already the most permissive in the South. They say continuing to raise or removing the cap could undermine the so-called three-tier system that’s been in place since Prohibition ended. 

The Business Report on 88.5 WFDD is a partnership with the Triad Business Journal. You'll find Owen Covington’s stories and more breaking business news at Triad.Bizjournals.com.

*Follow Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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