by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor, John Locke Foundation
Our report on North Carolina’s Alcoholic Beverage (ABC) System includes a chart showing many different restrictions North Carolina places on its distilleries that other states don’t put on theirs. The table contrasts “What we can’t have in NC” with what “They can in other states.”
Here’s the table (click on it for a larger size):
Companion bills before the General Assembly, House Bill 378/Senate Bill 290, would address several areas highlighted in the table above. Among other things, the legislation would allow distilleries to:
Those changes would free up North Carolina distilleries from burdensome rules not faced by their peers in many other states. That would be important regardless, but especially so for distilleries, which rely heavily on sales to friends and neighbors — 92 percent of a distillery’s sales are to consumers in its home state.
Brewers, under the proposal, could self-distribute 50,000 barrels of their products, as opposed to the current 25,000. The legislation also gives growing brewers more flexibility in choosing where and how to distribute their beers around the state.
Breweries that exceed 50,000 would not lose the ability to self-distribute, although the new law would affect only those breweries that sell fewer than 100,000 barrels of beer per year. Now, if a brewer sells 25,001 barrels per year, by state law, every barrel produced — including the first — must go through a third-party wholesaler/distributor.