A proposal to raise the limit on how many barrels of beer breweries can self-distribute appears to be dead.
Currently, North Carolina breweries can sell twenty-five thousand barrels of their own beer without bringing in a wholesaler. House Bill 500 originally sought to raise that cap to two hundred thousand barrels.
But the bill was pretty much gutted ahead of a Wednesday meeting of the House Alcohol Beverage Control committee. The committee was expected to vote on the bill today, but did not.
Deleted from the proposed bill were provisions to increase the barrel cap, change how that barrel cap is calculated, and make it easier for breweries to get out of distribution agreements.
What remains largely clarifies ambiguities or gaps in current law. HB 500, as revised, would still let breweries sell other alcoholic beverages with the correct permits, let home brewers participate in competitions and makes it clear that breweries can offer tastings during tours, among other provisions.
Craft Freedom, a coalition of brewers that has been the driving force behind the bill, suggested “backroom political pressure” influenced the changes to the bill.
Rep. Chuck McGrady, a primary sponsor of the bill, presented the revision version, which he called “a shadow of its former self,” at the committee meeting. Margo Metzger, director of the NC Craft Brewers Guild, said the group is “disappointed that the marquee provisions of the bill have been removed,” but supports the “extremely important incremental changes” that remain.
You can read more about HB 500 as originally proposed here and a summary of the changes to it here: