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home : opinion : opinion August 18, 2017

4/20/2017 5:28:00 PM
Lobbyists Once Again Prevail in Raleigh

The most recent example of how many Republican officials are guided by lobbyists more than by principals is the legislation to modernize the NC Beer distribution law was gutted in favor of protecting those who paid to play. This time Republican leadership sacrificed their belief in less regulation and free markets.

Current law forces beer brewers who exceed 25,000 barrels a year to use a distributor even if they prefer not to. Legislation by Republican McGrady would have substantially increased the limit of 25,0000 barrels a year and allow the free market to work by reducing regulation on craft brewers. Libertarians favor no limit on the number of barrels which would further reduce the amount of regulations and make the beer market even freer.

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Some North Carolina Craft Brewers are at the limit and prefer control over distribution of their product. This allows them to control storage conditions, reduce the age of the beer and hear what their customers are saying. Forcing them to pay a distributor who also distributes their competitor's beer including giants Bud Light, Coors, Miller and Corona is not a Free Market. Distributors are guaranteed their business so they are more concerned about their largest customers. Making their service optional will ensure that the distributors work to add value to the Craft Brewers so that it is a winning agreement for both sides.

So why did Republican Leadership abandon their "principles" in favor of distributors and large brewers who have no breweries in North Carolina? Just follow the money.

From 2013-2016 they received a lot of money from individual distributors and the NC Beer & Wine Wholesalers PAC.

  • Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R) received $192,200. 
  • House Speaker Tim Moore (R) received $98,466 of Big Beer money.
  • Pat McCrory (R) received about $97,000.
  • Roy Cooper(D) took in about $73,000.
  • Jamie Boles (R), co-chair of the House ABC Committee, received $32,450 which was over 30% of the total he raised from individuals.
  • By contrast, supporter of NC Craft Brewers, Rep. Chuck McGrady (R), co-chair of the House ABC Committee, received only $1,750.

Other top recipients of campaign money from 2013-2016 include: John Bell (R), House Majority Leader, $25,600; David Lewis (R), House Rules Chair, $25,050; Susan Martin (R), $24,300; Harry Brown (R), Senate Majority Leader, $19,750; Trudy Wade (R), $19,750.

Mark Byrne
Vice Chair
Libertarian Party of Catawba County

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