Presented to Governor Roy Cooper on Friday, July 19, Omnibus Bill, SB 290 is anticipated, without concern, to be signed any day now, and was a great win for North Carolina’s craft beer industry.
This bill follows another legislative success this year, H.B. 363, which has already passed and allows brewery permittees that sell fewer than 100,000 barrels per year of malt beverages produced by the brewery to self-distribute up to 50,000 barrels to unaffiliated retail permittees. In addition, it provides that only breweries that sell fewer than 25,000 barrels of malt beverages produced onsite may terminate a franchise agreement in the absence of good cause. The bill also includes language further protecting distributors in several areas.
A Collaborative Success for the Guild and its Allies
It took a sustained and concerted effort by the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild (NCCBG) and allies to bring these changes about. Rich Greene, executive director of the NCCBG expressed his gratitude for the organization’s lobbyist Alex Miller for his hard work, to the legal support from Laura Collier, and to the other industry associations (such as Retail Merchants, Restaurant & Lodging, Beer & Wine Wholesalers, and Distilled Spirits) who all worked collaboratively with the guild to get the bill through.
“Special thanks to our North Carolina legislators who continue to support our industry.”
Rich Greene, North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild
Rich adds, “Also, special thanks to our North Carolina legislators who continue to support our industry.”
NC Craft Brewers Legislative Day took place on May 14 and was a key event for the guild in their advocacy efforts. I attended the event and met with numerous legislators who later joined us for beer and BBQ on the lawn of the lieutenant governor’s offices. Twenty eight North Carolina breweries participated and we were able to lobby more than 100 legislators over the course of the day’s events.
Below is a list of key provisions of the omnibus bill that benefit the state’s brewery businesses:
- Ability to private label beer products
- Clarification of contract brewing rules
- Ability to sell at non 365-day farmers markets
- Ability to sell at university/college events
- Dogs allowed in taprooms that do not prepare food on-site
- Ability to serve two beers to a single person
- Ability to transfer between retail locations four times per year
- Right to serve beer at bingo games
- Retained retail delivery rights without an additional permitting requirement
There is a slight delay before most of the provisions go into effect on September 1, 2019, so you’ll see no dogs or multiple drink servings at N.C. breweries until that date.
What’s Next for North Carolina Craft Brewers?
Next on the docket for the NCCBG…numerous smaller fundraisers, a state beer competition, and the 2019 NC Craft Brewers Conference, scheduled to take place November 5-7, in downtown Winston-Salem, N.C.
The guild staff, board, and committees worked diligently to make pro-brewery business progress for their nearly 300 breweries, and their unwavering advocacy finally paid off! Now breweries can focus on the guild’s other mission aspects of promotion and education, while selling more beer and hanging with their dogs. Good work team NCCBG!