The recent news from The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery combines a few of craft beer industry storylines, the glory and the hurdles, all into one.
Storyline 1 is Olde Mecklenburg Brewery is growing and ready to expand. Founder John Marrino tells the Charlotte Business Journal that he plans to invest $17 million in growing and revamping his business, investing in things like more storage, fermentation tank space, a year-round patio, glass-washing room and more.
But all of that reinvestment in the business will still be designed to stop at a regulatory barrier, which would be storyline 2.
From the Charlotte Business Journal:
Marrino continues to invest in OMB, but without changes to North Carolina’s self-distribution cap, he says the Charlotte brewery will be forced to stop growing. That law requires breweries to sign with an outside distributor after they produce 25,000 barrels in a year.
Marrino has been steadfast in his commitment to cap growth just under that threshold — and hold it there until the law is changed. “We’re certainly not going to go over,” he says.
Last year, the brewery produced approximately 19,000 barrels of beer. It will bump up against the distribution cap of 24,999 this year, he adds.
We’ve given our thoughts on this type of business-limiting regulation previously (we are not fans). But the OMB story ends with hope. Marrino thinks that this cap will be altered. In fact, his company and NoDa Brewing Co. formed a coalition of brewers and businesses, Craft Freedom, to support changing that law.