Senate bill would raise self-distribution limit for craft brewers
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 7 p.m. March 13.
A bill filed Wednesday, March 13, in the N.C. Senate would raise the limit on the number of barrels North Carolina craft brewers can self-distribute.
Senate Bill 246 — Craft Beer Distribution and Modernization Act — basically maintains the current three-tier system, as well as lawmakers’ support of the brewers. Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Bladen, is the primary sponsor. Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue of Wake County is a co-sponsor.
“It is in the best interest of the State to continue supporting the entrepreneurial spirit and economic growth driven by the craft beer industry,” the bill says. “Yet it remains vital to preserve the integrity of the State’s three-tier system, which minimizes the potential for harm by large suppliers that hold market dominance.”
A lawsuit filed in 2017 by Craft Freedom LLC, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery LLC, and NoDa Brewing Co. says the distribution cap and franchise laws injure and threaten to impose additional damage on the brewers.
Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour in May 2018 ruled the lawsuit could proceed to trial. It’s unclear how this measure might affect the lawsuit.