Hendersonville Lightning op-ed: Reform N.C. alcohol laws now


In a weekend editorial, the Hendersonville Lightning called upon state lawmakers to reform North Carolina alcohol laws and rein in two state agencies that the online news publication said is suppressing Western North Carolina’s booming craft beer industry.

The editorial came after the environmental nonprofit MountainTrue last week canceled a weekend beer festival and fundraising event, citing issues with communicating with N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement and the N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

From the editorial:

The permitting debacle got the attention of City Council members and state legislators, who started making inquiries about what was going on in the two agencies. The fear and chaos surrounding the regulatory environment set off a rumor around town Wednesday that Sierra Nevada and Southern Appalachian Brewery were going to pull out of the popular Rhythm & Brews concert Thursday night.

“Not unexpectedly, I heard from both a county commissioner and a Hendersonville City councilman about the (Brew Fest) cancellation,” state Rep. Chuck McGrady reported in a newsletter he issued on Friday.

McGrady said his office spoke with ABC and ALE officials and he spoke with Sierra Nevada. The craft brewers did pour as usual at the Hendersonville concert. But before there’s a strike 3, McGrady and others should make the two state agencies stop suppressing the vitality of the fastest growing segment of the hospitality industry in the North Carolina mountains.

The opinion piece goes on to quote N.C. Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Henderson County Republican, who in a Friday newsletter suggested that it’s time to reform the state’s alcoholic beverage laws. From the editorial:

“The state’s alcoholic beverage laws have been slow to change,” McGrady pointed out. “While this is understandable given how long the entire nation struggled with alcoholic beverage regulation, including two amendments to the U.S. Constitution, it is time for reform of our state laws regulating alcoholic beverages.

“Over the past four years, we’ve in a piecemeal fashion addressed issues like selling beer and cider in growlers and allowing more on-site opportunities for breweries to sell their products,” McGrady added. “My hope is that we see a more comprehensive revision of our state’s laws governing alcoholic beverages in the near future.”


Chris Power August 25, 2015 - 3:08 pm

Hopefully something constructive will come out of these meetings and the State soon!

cwaster August 25, 2015 - 11:48 am

Show me the petition. I’ll gladly sign it.

Sean August 24, 2015 - 7:22 pm

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been prevented from buying beer at the grocery store due to the day or time of day. Super annoying! Also, wtf do we have to go to a special store to buy alcohol that’s not beer or wine? More annoyance!

Show me the petition I can sign!

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