The debate rages all over the country. How much beer can a brewery self-distribute? Usually not much, because of our three-tier system and the powerful wholesalers that make lots of money off distribution and who carry much clout with lawmakers. In North Carolina, 25,000 bbls is the self-distribution limit for a brewery. Over that line and a wholesaler must handle distribution. That number has been unsatisfactory for growing breweries in the state for some time.
Leading the charge, Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson) is sponsoring House Bill 500, which includes a provision that would raise the self-distribution cap to 200,000 barrels (bbls).
“There are some serious differences of opinion as between the craft brewers and distributors,” McGrady wrote in an email to the Charlotte Business Journal.
“Of course, it (is) also possible that the craft brewers and distributors can work toward compromise of their differences and that could be reflected in legislation,” he says.
For example, that could mean changes to the legislation that offers an increase from 25,000 barrels, but less than the 200,000 proposed.
The bill will face its first vote Wednesday (tomorrow), when it is scheduled to be taken up by members of the Alcoholic Beverage Control committee, and the vote is expected to be a close one.