Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Craft Beers and the General Assembly's Bad Record on Promoting Small Business

"The North Carolina Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association was founded in 1936 as a non-profit trade association to promote and protect the general business interests of beer and wine distributors in North Carolina."

That's language directly off the association's official website. One principle way the wholesalers "protect the general business interests" of ... themselves is to give big bucks to North Carolina politicians. Doesn't much matter to whom they give, so long as they're in power when the check's written.

Did you know that current NC law governing the distribution of beer is deliberately written to favor big producers like MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch? Did you know that a "craft beer" producer can distribute its own beer only up to a 25,000 barrel-a-year cutoff point. With the 25,000th barrel, a small local brewery must, according to North Carolina law, turn its distribution over to a wholesale distributor who may or may not respect the brand.

Jeremy Markovich digs into the problem of small, successful brewers who are now approaching the 25,000 limit:
Beer and wine wholesalers are among the biggest contributors to politicians in North Carolina, and several attempts to raise or get rid of the 25,000 barrel cap have gone nowhere in the legislature....
So when you hear Jonathan Jordan or any other Republican in the General Assembly brag about how they care about promoting business in North Carolina, know that he's mainly referring to the mega-business that pays into his reelection campaign.
Craft beer is far from the only industry where North Carolina’s laws favor big business over small startups. For example, cities can’t build out their own municipal fiber-optic networks anymore. Salisbury had futilely asked cable companies for higher-speed internet for years. When they refused, Salisbury built out its own fiber-optic network in 2010. A year later, the General Assembly responded by passing a law banning what Salisbury had done....
That law banning municipal fiber-optic networks was done under Democratic control of the General Assembly, which also had its big business bias and deserves the hard knocks of fate.

No comments: