Statesville man helps shape new rules for NC distilleries

Statesville man helps shape new rules for NC distilleries

STATESVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - A new law that North Carolina craft distillery owners call a “game-changer” was signed by the governor in Raleigh Monday.

Right now, visitors can only buy five bottles at a time at the state’s distilleries, and cannot sit down and have a couple drinks there. This will all change because of these new rules.

“When we started here, we didn’t even have the ability to sell one bottle to an individual out the front door,” Co-Owner of Southern Distilling Company Pete Barger says.

And, that wasn’t that long ago.

Barger says he has been running his Statesville distillery just off I-77 for just about two-and-a-half years, splitting time as President of the Distillers Association of North Carolina.

“We have to kind of choose our battles,” he says. “And this has been the battle that’s most important to all of us.”

The battle of market access in the state, that is.

“Access to consumers that beer and wine already enjoy,” Barger adds.

After years of work, he and other business owners consider this a major step forward. North Carolina distillers will now be able to offer mixed drinks and other beverages by the glass, unlimited bottles to go, and in-store tastings at ABC stores, to name a few major changes.

“It suddenly opens up this entire new revenue stream.” Barger says.

He says it is not just big for this beverage industry, but for farmers in the rural areas where these distilleries often appear.

“We actually indirectly employ more folks than we directly employ through the farmers that grown our grain,” he says.

No to mention, other industries where these businesses plant their roots.

“These areas are typically undeveloped,” he says. “So now this gives tourists a reason to go those areas.”

The new rules will take effect in September.

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