Follow the Beer to Neighborhood Development in Charlotte

The Charlotte Observer details how breweries act as “pioneer businesses” in certain areas of town, seeking buildings to renovate and reuse, and bringing neighborhood revitalization along for the ride.

Full article:


Charlotte Breweries Optimistic For 2017 Legislative Reform, Increases in Production

The Charlotte Business Journal reported today several Charlotte breweries are feeling bullish about their chances to change the current NC law stifling some breweries’ production efforts to 25,000 barrels per year.

Craft beer has a significant economic impact of $1.2 billion in North Carolina in 2015 alone.  The first brewery to open in NC was Weeping Radish Brewery, now in its 30th year of operations. The NC Craft Brewers Guild anticipates there will be at least 183 breweries open by the end of 2016.  In 2017, that number is expected to reach into the 230s.

Craft Freedom: Charlotte based breweries Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and NoDa Brewing Co. have been instrumental in lobbying efforts to encourage the state’s lawmakers to raise the current production cap above the 25,000 barrel annual limit, to allow craft brewers the ability to produce and self-distribute more of their product before they are required to sign with an outside third-party distributor.

N.C. Tribe sues Anheuser-Busch for”Unscrupulous” Trademark Infringement

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This week the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina filed a federal lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch InBev and R.A. Jeffreys Distributing Co., claiming infringement of a tribal trademark and slogan in advertisements at gas stations.

The lawsuit alleges that by using the Lumbee circular tribe logo and the “Heritage, Pride & Strength” slogan in beer advertisements at gas stations, AB InBev is creating the false impression that the tribe is affiliated with Bud Light.  The Lumbee logo is visible at the top left of the photo, consisting of a circular shape that “is symbolic of the Circle of Life.”

The lawsuit claims AB InBev’s use of its tribal trademark in advertisements is “immoral, unethical, oppressive, (and) unscrupulous.” Counsel for the plaintiffs further noted that as alcohol and drug abuse are often associated with Native American culture, AB InBev’s use of these marks to promote alcohol is “particularly offensive to Lumbee people.” The plaintiffs are seeking court costs and profits derived from using the tribe’s trademark.

The Lumbee Tribe is the ninth-largest in the United States, and calls itself the largest tribe in North Carolina. They are largely centered in the eastern part of NC in Robeson County.

Thanks to the Charlotte Business Journal – link to article is here.



Summer Starts with New GA Craft Brewery Rules in Effect

As noted back in January, Georgia’s craft beer breweries and wholesalers reached a truce, resulting in the new rules taking effect just in time for Memorial Day holiday weekend:

  • Georgia Breweries can now offer visitor tours at different prices based on the quantity and type of beer offered as “free souvenirs”

“The Georgia Craft Brewers Guild is deeply appreciative of the work the Department of Revenue did in getting these regulations written and approved,” Guild executive director Nancy Palmer said. “Today breweries across the state can now use social media to talk about where their products are sold, and they can charge whatever prices they see fit for their tour and tasting packages, including tours with to-go souvenirs.”

For now, Georgia craft beer fans will have to wait to get their growlers filled directly at the brewery.  It remains illegal for Georgia’s 52 breweries to sell beer directly to consumers. Breweries, like liquor distilleries, must sell their product to wholesalers, who then sell it to retailers.

Original Article can be found here; thanks to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

13,000+ bottles of Charlotte beer going to World’s Largest Trade Show

The Charlotte, NC region is preparing to serve thousands of glasses of local craft beer at the world’s largest industrial trade fair, the Hannover Messe, in Germany.

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery sent over 13,000 bottles of its locally-made beer to Hannover, with the help of Kuehne + Nagel logistics and the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Charlotte.  560 cases of Charlotte’s craft beer will hopefully land in the hands of thousands of lucky trade fair attendees, including President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. Secretary of Transportation (and former Charlotte mayor) Anthony Foxx, and U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

The Charlotte Business Journal writes, “At a Charlotte Chamber event this morning at The Olde Mecklenberg Brewery, the chamber, the Charlotte Regional Partnership and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina announced they will lead a delegation of more than 20 people representing private companies and public-sector organizations to this year’s Hannover Messe. It is the world’s largest industrial trade fair, slated for April 25-29 in Hannover, Germany, and expected to draw 6,500 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors.

My firm, BridgehouseLaw LLP, will be attending the Hannover Messe as part of the official Charlotte Regional Partnership Delegation. A full list of the delegates can be found in the CBJ article here. We are honored to assist in the region’s economic development activities, and look forward to welcoming even more jobs, businesses, and investment to Charlotte and the surrounding counties.  Cheers and Prost!

2015 Craft Beer Sales Set New Record

The Denver Business Journal reports craft beer sales exceeded 20% of the American beer market in 2015, setting a new record for the industry sub-sector.

The quick takeaway:

  • 2015 Craft Beer retail sales = $22.3 Billion  (+16% from 2014)
  • Represents a 21% market share (a huge jump from 2011, when it was less than a 10% share)
  • Production = 24.5 million barrels (+13% from 2014)
  • Number of breweries = 4,269 (+15% from 2014)


SC Brewery goes Green Year-Round


While many folks may be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with green-tinted beers today, Legal Remedy Brewing Company in Rock Hill, SC goes green every day with their solar-powered system and environmentally-friendly habits.  The brewery was just awarded the Green Spirit Award by

Solar panels create canopies at Legal Remedy’s front patio, providing a comfortable spot in the shade for the customers while also powering a 30-kilowatt solar power system for the brewery itself.  Thanks to these panels, plus an additional solar panel on the roof, Legal Remedy is able to offset about 35% of their electric bill.

The York County brewery also installed LED lights throughout the space, and returns its spent grain to local farms for the livestock to eat.

Congratulations and Cheers to Legal Remedy! Thanks to for the original article.




Alabama Breweries Trying to Overcome Outdated Laws

Prohibition we Want Beer

A bipartisan effort to update archaic laws in Alabama is brewing, and the 2016 legislative session will include alcohol-related bills on the agenda.

Ever since Alabama repealed prohibition on a state-wide level in 1937, there has been slow growth for breweries. The Brewpub Act was passed in 1992, which finally allowed brewpubs to open in Alabama- but with several restrictions.  In 2009, ABV limits were raised through the Gourmet Beer bill, upping the alcohol by volume limits for beer from 6% to an imperial-grade of 13.9%. The Brewery Modernization Act in 2011 eliminated restrictions of taprooms and on-site tastings in Alabama breweries.

On February 9, 2016 – Democrat and Republican representatives introduced a new beer bill which addresses the 1992-era beer laws, hoping to remove the existing restrictions that require breweries to be located in historic buildings or economically-distressed areas as well as “wet” counties (prior to federal Prohibition). The new rules could also permit the sale of growlers and bottles or cans. However, breweries would still be limited to a production cap of 60,000 barrels per year to qualify for off-premise sales. This limit doesn’t currently apply to any breweries in Alabama, but that may not be too far off in the distance.

Note: Thanks and Cheers to Nick Hudson (President, Free the Hops) for the opinion piece, found here.

Slushies Are So Yesterday – How One Convenience Store Brand uses Growlers to Grow Business

I found this industry-themed article today, published by NACS – The Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing – which highlights how a North Carolina convenience store chain has used craft beer growlers to grow its business.

Triangle Stop is a 10-unit chain in western NC, but four of its locations offer growler taps and on-premise beer and wine permits that allow customers to sample on site.

In May 2014, the Mountain River Tap & Growler bar opened inside the Mills River Triangle Stop, becoming the first convenience store in North Carolina with a growler bar after NC legalized the containers.  Other locations followed – with a Saluda location in October 2014, Brevard in 2015, and the newest location at the Asheville Regional Airport.  The beer business has been good: In the next two years, the company plans to demolish and rebuild at least one other current Triangle Stop location to add a growler bar.

This is no ordinary convenience store – two of the growler bars offer limited seating, providing an experience more like a small neighborhood bar, and plenty of local Asheville brews and ciders on tap. Monthly events are hosted at each of the Triangle Stops with a growler bar, and partner events with local breweries are common.  Customers have three options: 32-oz and 64-oz glass growler fills, and a 32-oz sealable can for single use.

Triangle Stop VP Beau Waddell states, “Overall, customer response to the growlers and bar has been “wonderful. Folks who come in can’t believe we offer such a variety of local beer on tap,” he said. “It’s unexpected but welcomed by the community.”

Full article by NACS Magazine contributor Sarah Hamaker can be found here



Alabama Craft Brewers Push for Growlers, Direct Sales


Let Peyton Manning have all the Budweiser he wants – with that (unpaid?) sales pitch at the end of Super Bowl 50, I have a feeling there’s already a team of Clydesdales and a hefty supply of Buds waiting in his driveway.

Meanwhile brewers in Alabama would likely prefer to celebrate a win in their state legislature by cracking open a 6-pack or a growler full of craft beer with their customers. Brewpubs & breweries currently have to turn away customers who ask for growler fills, and direct them to the nearest retailer who stocks their beer (and hopefully still has some available!) Otherwise, any beer sold at the brewery must be consumed on the premises.

Dan Roberts, executive director of the Alabama Brewers Guild, said Alabama is the only state in the U.S. that doesn’t allow customers to “leave a brewery with beer.” The guild represents 27 brewers across the state.

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Study Commission voted on recommendations for presentation to the state legislature to ease restrictions on brewpubs, wineries, distilleries, and also to allow for greater retail opportunities.  The recommendations passed a few weeks ago include the following:

  • Small brewers and brewpubs would be able to sell less than 60,000 barrels per year for retail, and sell up to 288 ounces per consumer per day, in any packaging including bottles, cans or growlers.
  • Brewpubs would no longer have to be located in a historic building or economically distressed area.
  • Brewers could directly deliver beer to charity functions, up to two kegs per event.
  • Alabama wineries would be able to retail wines at one ABC-board approved location.
  • Alabama distilleries would be able to directly sell consumers up to one 750 milliliter bottle of their spirits per person per year, only for off-premise consumption.

Members of the Commission traveled to North Carolina and Colorado to study and review those states’ laws, where the craft beer industry is thriving.

Text of Alabama Senate Bill 542 is here.