Craft Beer Lovers Say Cheers to New Bill

Posted under “Our View” at charlotteobserver.com

North Carolina, once a craft beer wasteland, has become one of the country’s most exciting states for good brews. Dozens of innovative breweries have popped up from the coast to Asheville, complementing a solid roster of fine brewers.

The growth began in 2005, when N.C. legislators passed a law allowing for higher content alcohol in beer sold here. Now, lawmakers have passed a smaller but important bill that allows breweries, regardless of size, to offer tastings and sell beer on site – even beers produced outside the state.

The measure would help North Carolina’s craft brewing industry flourish even more, not only by promoting interest in craft beer, but also by giving brewers another revenue stream. The change also could prompt larger west coast brewers to open east coast operations and bring jobs here.

Gov. Bev Perdue should sign the bill pronto, and lawmakers should consider another bill – one that would allow retailers to sell and refill 64 oz. bottles of beer, called “growlers.” Retailers in other states, including South Carolina, have opened successful growler stands that offer customers hard-to-find craft beers.

Growlers supporters say the bottles are greener and safer – enthusiastic craft beer drinkers may be less tempted to try that extra beer at a restaurant if they have the option to take some home in a refillable bottle. That would be good for business in an industry that’s become very good for North Carolina.

(Note: edited for beer related content-The Professor)