The North Carolina General Assembly is considering multiple bills to reform the state’s outdated alcohol regulations, according a recent column in Carolina Journal by Becki Gray, senior vice president of the John Locke Foundation. Gray mentions about a dozen bills going through the legislature and explains the changes are much-needed:
It’s past time North Carolina gets out of the liquor business, open the market to competition, and encourages opportunities for entrepreneurs.
One bill, the Craft Beer Distribution and Modernization Act (HB 363), has already made it through the legislature and has become law. The law, according to Gray:
allows breweries that sell fewer than 100,00 barrels — up from 25,000 — to self-distribute and market their products without being required to use a wholesaler.
In addition to this law, Gray explains:
About a dozen additional proposals are being considered this session that would support a free and open market by increasing competition, expanding consumer choice, and encouraging entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses.
Common themes in the legislation include product tastings in ABC stores and the option for ABC stores to open on Sundays. Gray comments:
As the craft beer and craft distillery business continues to grow, lawmakers should encourage their growth by removing barriers and encouraging further investments. As consumers expect business to respond to their needs, lawmakers should encourage competition and open markets.
In the end, this isn’t really about alcohol. Rather, it’s about government’s role in encouraging North Carolina businesses to grow.