N.C. Craft Beer Industry Wants to Make Major Changes to Alcohol Laws: ‘Brewers’ profits not the only thing to consider,’ says CAL Director
By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
January 26, 2017
The Christian Action League reported back in September of 2015 that craft brewers are planning a major assault on North Carolina’s Three-Tier system of alcohol control.
Those same concerns were confirmed again when WNCT News 9 reported:
“Craft breweries across North Carolina are hoping legislators repeal a law this session…[t]he legislation caps distribution at 25,000 barrels. Past that, an outside distributor must take over…The debate could lead to the General Assembly this session as some breweries have teamed up with lobbyists to raise the cap to 200,000 barrels.”
Red Oak Brewery in Greensboro has had a large sign next to their facilities beside Interstate 40 East that reads, “Lift the Cap” for several months.
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League said that lifting the cap would be a critical mistake, but to lift it to 200,000 barrels would be disastrous. He said he expects there could be one or more bills on the initiative.
“Some people don’t get it and they don’t want to get it. Craft brewers are new to the scene in this state, but they want to make major changes to accommodate them while putting others, especially public safety and health at risk. The alcohol control measures we have in this state, our current system should be tighter, in my opinion. But our Three-Tier system, which their proposal would significantly undermine, works exceedingly well for encouraging temperance and responsible alcohol sales. They need to learn to work within the system we have – the same one everyone else has had to live and work by all these years. Their profits are not the only thing to consider,” said Dr. Creech.
Breweries may now self-distribute if they produce fewer than 25,000 barrels of beer annually. If they produce beyond this, they must engage a wholesale distributor, which they complain is much too restrictive.
Brewers sought to move a bill last year raising the number of barrels from 25,000 to 100,000, but the measure never gained traction.
North Carolina’s three-tier system is made up of suppliers, wholesale distributors, and retailers.
The system provides important checks and balances. Because of the independent buffer of a wholesale distributor between the supplier and the retailer, there are built in safeguards against corrupt, manipulative, or abusive industry practices.
To whatever level the three-tier system is diminished, the clarity of the chain of custody that scrupulously traces the product from production to sale is lost. Protections against sales to minors are lost, as well as many other abuses. Securities against contaminated or counterfeit products are lost, and an accurate means of collecting excise taxes is also lost.
To whatever means the craft beer industry can get around this means of control, the public loses, state and local communities lose, while brewers laugh all the way to the bank.
The current standard of 25,000 barrels of beer annually is high. It is not low, as the brewers would have lawmakers and the public to believe. In fact, 92 percent of breweries in the country produce less than 7,500 barrels a year per brewery.
TAKE CHRISTIAN ACTION:
It is imperative that the Christian Action League grow its grassroots advocacy base to effectively meet challenges like the one North Carolina brewers are planning.
Please go to the link below and sign-up on our GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY LIST. It should take less than five minutes of your time.
Go to this link: http://www.ciclt.net/sn/gre2/gre2_join.aspx?ClientCode=calnc
Please, we need your partnership to defeat such initiatives. Also, share this story with others who also believe North Carolina needs to retain strong alcohol policies.
We could also use your financial help. Please go to this link to make a secure online donation: http://christianactionleague.org/donate/
Or you can send your gift by mail to:
Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.
809 Spring Forest Road
Raleigh, North Carolina 27609