In a Monday email with the subject line “Wicked Weed, Burning Can and Ashvegas” sent from Cox to local brewers, their attorneys and N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission officials, the special agent in charge of Asheville’s N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement office writes that her agents checked up on Funk Asheville after reading an Ashvegas post Sunday about action her agents took at Burning Can.
“I looked up the first several brewers listed for the Wicked Weed event and they do not have permits or approved products in NC,” Special Agent in Charge Stacy J. Cox wrote.
But Ward and Smith attorney Derek Allen said Monday afternoon that, after further review, Cox was mistaken. Cox was looking at an outdated link, said Allen, who stressed that every beer poured at Funk Asheville was properly permitted. Allen said he worked diligently with Wicked Weed last weekend to be sure everything was in order after hearing of the Burning Can enforcement action on Friday.
N.C. ALE agents to notify Oskar Blues that 16 breweries invited to pour at the Burning Can didn’t have the proper paperwork to serve beer and would not be allowed to pour. Oskar Blues decided to refund ticket-holders’ money and turn the event into a free beer-tasting party, rather than shut the party down.
In a phone interview Sunday, I asked Walt Dickinson of Wicked Weed about whether his festival had had any issues with N.C. ALE enforcement. Dickinson said his brewery worked hard to ensure that all the proper paperwork was in place for the event. “It’s our contention that every beer poured was legal,” Dickinson told me.
In her email, Cox says she and her agents were unaware that Funk Asheville was being held at Wicked Weed’s new beer-manufacturing facility at Enka Business Park (the same day as Burning Can), and she asks brewers for their help.
We did not know this event was happening. As I said in the meeting – I really don’t have time (or desire) to scour the local media to look for things and unfairly single anyone out. … What can we do to remedy this issue with the breweries and guide everyone into compliance? Ideas? Suggestions? Help!?
I called Cox this morning and left a message asking for comment. Here’s the full email:
Stacy J. Cox, special agent in charge of the Asheville office of the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement
From: “Cox, Stacy” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: July 20, 2015 at 11:46:41 AM EDT
To: “Derek J. Allen (DJA@wardandsmith.com)” <DJA@wardandsmith.com>, “Hayley R. Wells (HRW@wardandsmith.com)” <HRW@wardandsmith.com>, “Jennifer McLucas (email@example.com)” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Rick Jackson (email@example.com)” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: “Cowick, Renee (Renee.Cowick@abc.nc.gov)” <Renee.Cowick@abc.nc.gov>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Wicked Weed, Burning Can and Ashvegas
I just wanted to take a moment to demystify and debunk what our local media is proliferating in reference to Burning Can. I noticed a number of articles hit the media this morning and hope to shed clarity should you be called with questions.
First of all – there will be no violation reports submitted to NCABCC against anyone in reference to Burning Can, nor will anyone be charged criminally for anything.
Several articles: (and I am certain there will be more to come)
****I recommend reading the comments in the last article listed (Ashvegas).
Here’s the details:
NCALE did not know about this festival until Wednesday evening, when the local Sheriff’s Office told us about it. We immediately took action and the Agent assigned to that area contacted the Manager (Noah) at Oskar Blues to begin discussion. I went ahead and made contact with NCABCC to determine how to proceed. NCABCC contacted the office of Ward and Smith and forwarded their guidelines on how Oskar Blues could proceed with the festival.
As I am sure you all are aware, many of the out of state brewers in attendance did not have the ABC permits they need to sell/serve their products in this state. There were also a number of them whose products were not approved for sale or consumption anywhere in NC. On Friday, I personally met with Noah and let him know we harbored no animosity and explained how we had just learned of the event. He understood and took responsibility for their actions. I again asked him to contact our office prior to events so we can get details worked out well ahead of time.
During the festival and after notification, Oskar Blues opted to make the festival a free event. NCABCC and gave them guidelines for how to remain within law and rule compliance. Our Agents briefly spot checked the festival Saturday evening and found no operational problems.
Based on the Ashvegas article, I checked up on the Wicked Weed event (link below)that was listed in the comments. We did not know this event was happening. As I said in the meeting – I really don’t have time (or desire) to scour the local media to look for things and unfairly single anyone out.
I looked up the first several brewers listed for the Wicked Weed event and they do not have permits or approved products in NC.
What can we do to remedy this issue with the breweries and guide everyone into compliance? Ideas? Suggestions? Help!?
Thanks for all you do!
Stacy J. Cox
Special Agent in Charge
Alcohol Law Enforcement Branch
5 Barbetta drive
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 670-5055 phone