Charlotte Craft Breweries Hopeful to Raise the Production Cap

Charlotte news outlet FOX 46 interviewed Olde Mecklenburg Brewery‘s sales director about their decision to back out of the Triad market due to the NC law capping craft beer production at 25,000 barrels per year.  Click here for the video.

Opponents of the current law claim that the annual 25,000 barrel limit abruptly cuts off small breweries’ abilities to grow, and does little to incentivize their investment in delivery trucks, kegs, and new employees. Once a brewery hits the cap, they are required to hand over distribution for ALL of their beer to a third-party distributor, thus third party would gain control over all sales, delivery, distribution and quality control during transportation (everything that matters to the Brewery), resulting in a loss about 30% of the brewery’s revenue and margin to the distributor. 

Many breweries would prefer to engage a third-party distributor as their own business decision, and not be forced to comply with an arbitrary rule. While North Carolina is often cited to have the most “beer-friendly” laws in the Southeastern USA, there is still room for improvement. South Carolina limits breweries to selling 48 ounces of beer to consumers in a 24-hour period, while Georgia breweries have been fighting for over a decade for the mere ability to sell growlers.

The craft beer scene has exploded in cities like Asheville, Charlotte and Raleigh, creating jobs and adding to the tourism industry.  Local consumers and beer fans alike could help to further convince legislators to update the law to meet today’s practical considerations. 

See also: http://www.craftfreedom.org

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NC Law Caps Olde Meck Brewery’s Growth in Triad

Charlotte’s largest craft beer maker, Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, pulled out of its $130,000 investment in Greensboro, NC only one year after expanding into the Triad market.

OMB cites the reason for the retreat is North Carolina’s barrel cap on craft beer breweries: Once a brewery makes 25,000 barrels of beer in a year, it must turn over distribution to a third party.  The brewery is opposed to the NC law, and has committed to staying under the 24,999 annual barrel limit, even though its brewery could potentially produce 100,000 barrels per year.

OMB’s founder stated they would preemptively pull out of Greensboro in order to avoid underserving its home market of Charlotte. “Every drop counts. It’s one of those laws of unintended consequences,” he adds. “It takes OMB from something that is growing every year as an employment and tax creator and puts us in a holding pattern.”

Demand for OMB’s beers continues to grow, but the current production cap limits the brewery’s ability to release additional varieties and seasonal brews.

Original article ran in the Charlotte Business Journal.

Additional details on current opposition to NC’s production limit can be found at CharlotteBeer.com.

photo credit: letloveguideus.com