The NC General Assembly has passed SB155 “ABC Omnibus Legislation,” which is now headed to Gov. Cooper for his signature. This is a moment to stop, raise a glass and celebrate an important win in a hard-fought campaign for North Carolina craft beer, wine and spirits makers.
What’s in it?
SB155 rolled together several pieces of legislation into one mega-omnibus in order to move through both House and Senate before the clock ran down:
The Brunch Bill allows on- and off-premise sales starting at 10 am on Sundays. That means a brewery taproom could open at 10am if the local governing body allows it. In addition, restaurant guests who wish to experience craft beer at brunch would have the option to do so under SB155, and retail shoppers could also purchase NC craft beer and wine to go, if the local governing body opts-in.
HB500 provisions (all provisions as passed by the House in May 2017):
- Allowing retailers (including brewery taprooms) to sell Crowlers;
- Authorizing off-site storage locations for breweries, wineries and distilleries;
- Allow sampling during production for quality control and employee education;
- Allow breweries to sell unfortified wine (with the appropriate permits), just as wineries may do without the requirement to also serve food;
- Support farmhouse breweries that operate in a dry county;
- Allow transportation of homebrew and homemade wine for competitions;
- and more! Read full text of the final legislation here.
HB480 – The Guild opposed this legislation at the outset because it would have imposed onerous new reporting requirements and disclosure of confidential business information. However through careful negotiation, those requirements were dropped. Instead, the ABC Commission will be able to obtain such information from breweries only by request. The provision also requires that the Commission protect the confidentiality of any report it might request. One provision of the original bill remains–an annual check-up by ABC ensuring tax compliance by all breweries holding a wholesaler permit. This is already required for all retail ABC permittees.
Read the full text of the final legislation here.
Representatives Chuck McGrady, Bill Brawley, Pricey Harrison, and Jon Hardister, as well as Senators Rick Gunn, Dan Blue and Kathy Harrington all deserve hearty thanks for their persistent work to shepherd this legislation through the process.
The Guild team has worked on this legislation every day, since long before the legislative session began in January, to ensure that craft brewers’ priorities were heard and acted on this session. Many thanks to our lobbyist Alex Miller, general counsel Laura Collier, and staff members Fawn Pattison and Lisa Parker for their tirelessness and creativity. Most of all, thanks to the craft brewers across the state who are members of the NC Craft Brewers Guild. Guild members use their voices, their fan bases, and their delicious beer to make positive change for our state. Cheers!