by Michael Lowrey
The Asheville Citizen-Times provides an update on various bills before the General Assembly to change how alcohol is sold in North Carolina. A brief summary from the article:
State law requires that all sales of liquor by the bottle be in the network of ABC stores that are owned by and benefit local government. Brewers selling more than 25,000 barrels of beer a year also must use a third-party distributor, instead of selling their products directly to bars and grocery stores.
Bills filed in the legislature this year would allow the state’s growing distilleries to sell one bottle per year per person of their product at their distillery and let ABC stores hold free tastings so people could sample different kinds of alcohol.
There are also proposals to relax limits on smaller breweries’ ability to sell beer to bars, restaurants and grocery stores without using a third-party distributor and to allow a brewery to sell a visitor a glass of wine.
But, none so far have advanced beyond the House Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee. The liquor bills are parked, along with scores of others on a wide variety of topics, in the Senate Rules Committee chaired by Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson.
The committee is sometimes a graveyard for bills Senate leadership does not want to consider. Apodaca did not return a request for comment on whether the bills will get a hearing.