by Brenée Goforth
Media Manager & Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
On Tuesday, July 16, the N.C. Senate approved Senate Bill 290, according to a story by Carolina Journal’s John Trump. The bill, among other things, would:
allow brewers to offer tastings at farmers markets and removes a limitation on sales at the state’s craft distilleries. The bill allows restaurants and other venues to sell up to two drinks per customer at any one time, and would allow liquor tastings at state ABC stores, from 1 to 7 p.m., for three hours, with no more than three tastings per week. [as well as] allow N.C. distilleries to sell malt beverages and unfortified and fortified wine, as well mixed beverages. The bill would allow distillers to, much like ABC stores, sell to consumers without facing the current five-bottle-per-person annual restriction.
The bill has been a long-time-coming, according to Trump:
The N.C. House on July 11, after years of contentious debate among lawmakers and myriad failed efforts, were finally able to pass the measure, which aligns craft distilleries more closely with rules governing wine and craft beer. The Senate passed S.B. 290, 39-4, June 25.
North Carolina distillers are beginning to prepare for the bills enaction into law. Trump explains:
N.C. craft distillers are already making plans to take advantage of the new rules, which have been a long time coming. Many of the rules governing alcohol in North Carolina date back to Prohibition, as liquor reform was continually left by the wayside while lawmakers eased restrictions on the state’s brewers and vintners, allowing those industries to prosper and thrive.
“We’re 20 years behind, but the roadmap is there,” said Rim Vilgalys of The Brothers Vilgalys Spirits Co. in Durham.