Reform will have to wait at least another two years in North Carolina, as a bill to raise the state's 25,000 barrel self-distribution cap was strangled in committee. Mark Binker has the story for The News & Observer:
"Lawmakers will drop their attempt to raise the self-distribution limit for North Carolina’s craft brewers, according to a proposal distributed to members of the House Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Henderson County Republican, confirmed that the new version of House Bill 500 will also drop language that would have allowed brewers to more easily break their contracts with wholesalers.
“I can’t pass the bill with that in there,” McGrady said. “I’m very disappointed. It just seems like the inside politics game wins here.”
The beer bill has been one of the most closely watched pieces of legislation this session. Just getting the bill out of committee in its original form would have been a difficult task. A bruising battle surely would have ensued on the House floor, and Senate leaders have said they have little appetite for the measure.
Under current law, small brewers may distribute up to 25,000 barrels of beer on their own. If they produce and sell more, brewers must enter an agreement with a wholesaler, a middleman who collects taxes and delivers beer to bars, restaurants, and retail stores. The system is a holdover from the Prohibition era and was originally aimed at keeping large brewers in check..."