Legislative Meeting at New Belgium
We got an opportunity to meet up with several legislators, board members from the NC Brewers Guild, and our local brewing community this week for a “State of the State” meeting. New Belgium hosted the event and served up Citradelic, Blue Paddle, and some other favorites for the crowd. Green Opportunity’s Kitchen Ready Program prepared some great food as well!
Needless to say, I love the fact that this constitutes a work day!
Margo Knight Metzger, executive director of the NC Brewer’s Guild, provided the crowd with a summary of NC’s craft beer industry.
– 160 breweries ( up from 45 in 2010!)
– 675,000 barrels of total production
– 2nd largest increase in barrel production in the U.S.
– 10,000 jobs
– 1.2 Billion in total economic impact
This update was followed by a roundtable discussion which allowed the legislators and brewers to review current regulations and their impact on the industry. Topics such as excise tax, distribution caps, and ALE enforcement were cited as the major hurdles to grow North Carolina’s beer economy.
I took this opportunity to share what other states are doing to engage and support the agricultural side of brewing. For example, New York state has a wildly successful farm brewery law that provides incentives for using locally sourced grains. Virginia is also working reviewing and incentive program for farmers who grow grains and hops for the brewing industry. These laws help support the development of a food system for craft beer and benefit the farming communities throughout the state. We need something like this to support continued growth in North Carolina.
I plan to join the NC Brewer’s Guild on June 1st for their annual lobbying day in Raleigh. Check back for further updates!