Small beer brewers losing fight to self-distribute

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Another effort by North Carolina's craft-beer brewers to ease state limits on distributing their own products appears to have gone flat.

A new version of a House measure debated Wednesday in committee and designed to benefit the craft industry left out a previous provision to raise the self-distribution limit from 25,000 barrels a year to 200,000 barrels.

Bill sponsor Rep. Chuck McGrady of Hendersonville told the Alcoholic Beverage Control panel the provision was removed after opposition from the North Carolina Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association. Its member companies distribute to retailers beverages from brewers producing above the limit.

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The wholesalers' group hired several powerful contract lobbyists as part of the legislative fight. Nearly 200 small brewers in the state also are organized, highlighting thousands of jobs the industry creates.

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