Lawmakers introduce changes to bill that would expand craft brew - | WBTV Charlotte

Lawmakers introduce changes to bill that would expand craft brewing in NC

(Corey Schmidt | WBTV) (Corey Schmidt | WBTV)
RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) -

Lawmakers in Raleigh introduced a substitute to a bill that would expand craft brewing in North Carolina.

The proposed bill would have allowed brewers to brew and sell nearly ten times more of their own beer than under the current law. On Tuesday, the proposed legislative replacement included changes that would keep the current cap in place.

House Bill 500 was introduced in March. The legislation would have raised the cap on the amount of beer craft brewers can make each year without hiring a third-party distributor from 25,000 barrels a year to 200,000 barrels a year.

Such a move is necessary for the state’s largest craft breweries - Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and NoDa Brewing in Charlotte and Red Oak in the Triad - to continue growing. All three breweries are expected to hit the cap this year.

Instead, the proposed substitute bill would make minor, incremental changes to craft brewing regulations.

“The [substitute bill] before you is a shadow of its former self,” Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), one of HB500’s authors, told the House ABC Committee on Tuesday.

McGrady said he had to introduce the substitute bill after it became clear the original bill - with the increased cap on brewing limits - would not get enough support.

A spokeswoman for the North Carolina Craft Beer Guild said her organization was disappointed the provisions lifting the cap may be removed from the bill, but was still happy to see the small, incremental changes.

The committee delayed its vote on the substitute proposal until next week.

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