Loosening arbitrary state restrictions would let craft breweries expand

There are some good quotes in John Trump’s Carolina Journal piece today about the “compromise” bills to raise the distribution cap on craft breweries but retain the three-tier system:

“This opens up a lot of possibilities for us,” said NoDa co-founder Suzie Ford. “We have never been anti-distributor.

“They fulfill something that we can’t necessarily do. So for us, yes, we will now be able to look at the whole state and really see what we’re going to do with our distribution partners.” …

To self-distribute up to the first 50,000 barrels, the brewery must not sell more than 100,000 barrels annually, say handouts about the bill provided at the news conference. “This keeps the self-distribution privilege to small and mid-sized breweries. Really large breweries would still not be authorized to self-distribute,” the handout say.

It gives us essentially what other businesses, small businesses outside the alcohol industry, already have,” said Todd Ford, NoDa co-founder.

It gives brewers such as NoDa, which now steers clear of the 25,000-barrel limit, the ability, Todd Ford said, to make business decisions for their company based on what’s best for that company. It’s a fast-evolving market, he said, and what worked even four years ago may have changed dramatically. The new laws could change things.

“So we can grow in a way that we think is best for our product, its quality and for its appreciation within the market. We don’t have to follow somebody else’s business plans that were dictated by state law.”

That last quote is key. Market considerations, not arbitrary state policies, should be the determining factors.

Sixteen states allow their breweries to self-distribute without artificial limitations.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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