by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
North Carolina-based distillers could see some helpful changes coming their way according to an article by Carolina Journal’s John Trump. In his article, Trump speaks to state distillers about what a Senate Bill 290, currently going through the Senate Rules and Operations Committee, would mean to them. Trump explains:
Senate Bill 290, Distiller Regulatory Reform Bill, would allow N.C. distilleries to sell malt beverages and unfortified and fortified wine, as well to sell mixed beverages. It also would allow distilleries to sell spirits directly to consumers and would allow liquor tastings at state Alcoholic Beverage Control stores.
The bill, maybe most important, would allow distillers to, much like ABC stores, sell to consumers without facing the current five-bottle-per-person annual restriction, according to state and local laws.
The state laws are much stricter for distilleries than they are for brewers and vintners. As Trump writes:
Brewers and vintners can sell their products directly to customers at their breweries and wineries, and they also can make small batches of special or seasonal products, which they, too, can sell or bottle. Not so for distillers, who must rely on the state to approve, store, sell, and police their products.
One distiller in the story, Zeb Williams, has had a large boost in business since his distillery was featured on the Discovery Channel in a spinoff of the network’s “Moonshiners” franchise. Williams states:
“People are coming from all over the place, bringing dollars to North Carolina… [But due to the laws] We’re leaving money on the table, for us and state. That’s a huge thing.”
In other words, Trump writes:
S.B. 290 would help distillers, sure, he said. But, in reality, Williams says, he occupies just one corner in what could become a much more colorful — and much larger — picture of growth for North Carolina.