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Beer, politics and a quick death

Carter Wrenn on his blog, Talking About Politics:

Years ago, around the time of Prohibition, the politicians in Raleigh passed a law that said a brewer can’t deliver his own beer. And with that one law, the politicians created a new industry which blossomed: the beer wholesalers (or beer distributors).

Eighty-odd years passed and that old law, still on the books, put handcuffs on local craft brewers. It meant they couldn’t deliver their beer (over 25,000 bottles) to their customers at restaurants and supermarkets. Instead, to grow, a craft brewer had to hire — and split his profits with — a beer wholesaler.

Naturally, that didn’t seem fair to the craft brewers, so they set out to change the law. A bill was introduced in the state House. Both sides hired lobbyists. And both sides locked horns in the back rooms of the legislature.

Now, most people like craft beer. It’s popular. And local. And the breweries create jobs for young people. But at the same time, the beer wholesalers had contributed a million and a half dollars to legislators.

The legislators met, contemplated, nodded sagely, and the craft beer bill died a quick death.

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