Brewery laws and protectionism
In recent months, Bastiat Society chapters in Charleston and Charlotte held events regarding brewing laws and the effects they have on micro-breweries around the country. The future of beer in the Carolinas looks promising, but laws dating back to prohibition still restrict entrepreneurship.
The Charlotte chapter hosted Russell W. Fergusson, an alcohol regulation attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina. The event took place at the new Sugar Creek Brewing Company, a local brewery dedicated to Belgian style beers.
In his speech, Mr. Fergusson explained the infamous three tier system of alcohol regulation, legal hurdles facing craft brewers, and local governmental requirements (including zoning issues and enforcement).
Mr. Fergusson also discussed the special rules governing beer distribution agreements and the history of challenges to alcohol by volume restrictions (including the successful campaign to repeal North Carolina’s 6-percent alcohol by volume cap on beer).
The Charleston chapter held a panel discussion at Low Tide Brewing on Johns Island. Two local brewery owners were joined by Brook Bristow, a lawyer and Executive Director of the South Carolina Brewers Guild.
The panel focused its discussion on the future of beer in South Carolina. They discussed recent regulatory repeals that have helped them thus far, and what laws need to change in the future so that they can stay competitive.