Craft breweries file lawsuit over forced distribution regulations


There really is no sound justification for this:

Two growing craft breweries are suing after failing to get North Carolina legislators to overturn a decades-old law on beer sales. Lawyers for Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Noda Brewing Co. were in court Tuesday to challenge the law, which forces them to hand over to private companies the distribution of their own beer once they sell 25,000 barrels or about the volume of an Olympic-sized swimming pool in a year.

The Charlotte breweries say the state’s beer distribution law is unconstitutional. They argue they’re forced to give up control to politically influential middlemen where their products are sold for virtually as long as they stay in business. A state attorney says a three-judge panel should examine the beer distribution law overall, not just how it applies to those two breweries.

NC's beer & wine wholesalers may never hit the #1 spot for lobbying and campaign donations, but they perpetually funnel tens of thousands into the system each year. Which answers the question many had when attempts to rewrite that law failed last year, when the issue seemed to have much support. It will be interesting to see how those lobbyists react to a court case, where their little backroom deals no longer work.



This one may end up being personal

In addition to the Planning Board, I'm also on a downtown advisory committee. Because we have 4-5 former textile mills within a few blocks, I've been harping about trying to attract a microbrewery to our town for about 3 years now. It's quite possibly the single most powerful generator of small-town revitalization that exists, some of the case studies are literally stunning.

So now I've been volunteered (see "drafted") to spearhead that effort. Which is weird, since I don't drink alcohol anymore. :) But if these folks are able to expand their operations, my town is in a perfect place to take advantage of that.