Craft brewers, wholesalers lift glass to distribution deal

    Photo credit: Paul Joseph / CC BY 2.0 / MGN

    North Carolina's craft beer industry and alcohol wholesalers are raising a glass to what they say is a legislative compromise to allow small, growing brewers to keep control of their product longer.

    Legislators from both parties and industry representatives announced Thursday an agreement in General Assembly bills filed this week to let breweries sell double the amount of their beer annually on their own compared to what current law allows.

    Right now third-party distributors take over sales, marketing and pricing once brewers sell over 25,000 barrels. Lawmakers have declined to change the limit, leading to a 2017 lawsuit by two brewers.

    The number of craft breweries has grown from 45 in 2010 to over 200 today. Craft beer sales have increased nationwide while overall sales have fallen.

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