The Brew Site

Repealing North Carolina’s beer laws

The state of North Carolina restricts the amount of alcohol in beer that can be sold—a maximum of six percent by volume. Sound backwards? It is—especially considering there’s no limit to the amount of alcohol in wine or hard liquor. And wine is just as easy to buy as beer. This restriction is a throwback to Prohibition and just nonsensical. But there’s a group trying to repeal the law and get the limit raised to 15 percent: Pop the Cap, a grassroots organization. They’re profiled in this article, which also delves into the beer laws of North Carolina a bit.

It’s not so much a matter of more alcoholic beer — Scottish ales tend to be around the 8-percent mark — but of better beer and more choices. Approximately one-third of the world’s beers are not available in North Carolina due to the law….

The Pop the Cap bill passed the state House of Representatives June 2 by a vote of 68 to 46. Locally, only Rep. Phil Haire (D-Sylva) voted for the bill. Rep. Roger West (R-Andrews) and Rep. Ray Rapp (D-Mars Hill) both voted against it….

One of the arguments opponents of the Pop the Cap bill have raised is that opening the door for beer with higher alcohol content only will facilitate drinkers getting drunk faster.

"The toughest hurdles were in the beginning with the ABC committee," said Wong, president of The Highland Brewing Company. "There were a lot of people who felt it really wasn’t necessary to go increasing alcohol levels. There were a few people that felt that there was enough availability."

Currently five other states limit the amount of alcohol in beer: South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia. That just seems so… backward to me.