To see and taste what could be in Georgia, look at N.C.’s breweries

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Change is hard. It’s hard in part because those who resist it can point to what would be lost, which usually can be seen, while proponents can only describe what might be gained, which often is unseen.

So here’s to an example of change whose benefits can be seen, and even sipped.

The craft-brewing scene in this funky town in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a tasty testament to what’s possible when lawmakers work to open up markets for innovative entrepreneurs, not to stifle them to protect industry incumbents. If you want to see what Georgia could have if it didn’t impose some of the nation’s strictest regulations on its brewers, visit Asheville.

A tasting glass and menu at Sierra Nevada's brewery just outside Asheville, N.C. When the California-based beermaker was looking for an East Coast site, it considered three states in the South; Georgia wasn't one of them. (Photo by Kyle Wingfield)

A tasting glass and menu at Sierra Nevada’s brewery just outside Asheville, N.C. When the California-based beermaker was looking for an East Coast site, it considered three states in the South; Georgia wasn’t one of them. (Photo by Kyle Wingfield)

North Carolina, like Georgia and other Southern states, once made it nearly impossible for brewers to set up shop, much less grow. Just a decade ago, the Tar Heel State had only a couple of dozen craft brewers. Then its lawmakers loosened some key regulations, including a strict limit on the percentage of alcohol by volume allowed; the state had already legalized on-site sales and self-distribution, two key activities still banned in Georgia.

Today, North Carolina boasts nearly 200 breweries. The Asheville Brewers Alliance alone counts 44 among its members. The entire state of Georgia has just 45, which ranks 48th in the nation on a per capita basis according to the national Brewers Association. North Carolina, with almost the same population as Georgia, comes in 19th.

“The ability to sell on-site, both on the premises and for off-premises consumption, the ability to self-distribute, those things are absolutely essential to incubating a successful craft-brewing industry,” says Margo Knight Metzger, head of the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild.

“We can have those tiny upstart breweries who can start in a small town and grow organically, because they don’t have to sell so much in distribution. When they can sell on-site, they can start small.”

Wander around Asheville, as I did on a recent weekend, and you see what that looks like. On my way to one brewery recommended by a friend, I passed at least three others. Later I circled back to one of them, Green Man Brewery, where a few dozen beer drinkers watched a U.S. men’s soccer match in the brewery’s original tasting room while other visitors enjoyed tours and tastings in an impressive new facility next door. And I was only scratching the surface.

It’s a scene one could imagine in Athens, Savannah or various parts of metro Atlanta. But you don’t see it because Georgia law limits breweries to offering a small number of free tastings or take-home samples to visitors who pay for a tour, a cattywampus arrangement legislators created at the behest of wholesalers and retailers who barked about a proposal that went further.

Even if you aren’t into beer, or are content with Bud Light, or are one of those wholesalers or retailers worried about shaking up the system, there are other signs of what could be.

For example: Despite allowing brewers to distribute up to 25,000 barrels a year of their own product, rather than selling all of it through wholesalers, North Carolina has 25 percent more wholesale jobs than similarly sized Georgia, according to the Beer Institute. The states have virtually the same number of retail jobs. And the Brewers Association reports annual state and local tax revenues from brewers in North Carolina surpass those in Georgia by almost $1 billion.

You can see it. You can taste it. Whatever you do, you better believe it.

Reader Comments 0

142 comments
McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Why would such a conservative red state as GA put regulations on businesses? I thought only liberals did that? Seems like idiotic regulations are done on both sides. 

Dimick
Dimick

The Trump economy continues a winning streak unseen in the Obama economy.

What hoppi Mr. Obama,if Trump keeps this winning streak alive he will do more for the country in a month, than you did in 8 years.  

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

AndyManUSA#45?

CONGRATULATIONS! 

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@FIGMO2 Finally!


And think about this, during the time it took to get it changed, Trump put half of his cabinet in place. 

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@FIGMO2

LOL.

You can take AndyManUSA out of IReportYouWhine, but you can't take IReportYouWhine out of AndyManUSA. That stain is permanent!

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Remember Pearl Harbor.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

WISCONSIN



Trump had widened his victory margin over Clinton in Wisconsin by 146 votes, with 23 of the state's 72 counties having finished their recounts as of Tuesday. In those counties, Trump gained 105 votes and Clinton dropped 41 votes.


lol

lvg
lvg

So this is how the GOP plans to drain the swamp:


""" Former Senator Bob Dole, acting as a foreign agent for the government of Taiwan, worked behind the scenes over the past six months to establish high-level contact between Taiwanese officials and President-elect Donald J. Trump’s staff, an outreach effort that culminated last week in an unorthodox telephone call between Mr. Trump and Taiwan’s president.

Mr. Dole, a lobbyist with the Washington law firm Alston & Bird, coordinated with Mr. Trump’s campaign and the transition team to set up a series of meetings between Mr. Trump’s advisers and officials in Taiwan, according to disclosure documents filed last week with the Justice Department. Mr. Dole also assisted in successful efforts by Taiwan to include language favorable to it in the Republican Party platform, according to the documents.

Mr. Dole’s firm received $140,000 from May to October for the work, the forms said."""


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/06/us/politics/bob-dole-taiwan-lobby-trump.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news


Even a respected Con like Dole will take foreign money to help Trump interfere in foreign relations before he is President. No wonder he backed Trump.


Lots of dangerous critters like Brannon, Flynn and Flynn's son are now inhabiting that swamp and are posting nonstop on  Kyle's blog..



Dimick
Dimick

$125 billion in waste of the taxpayers money found in the Pentagon's business operations.

They can run but they can't hide that much money. Do a audit GOA: Bet they can find the hidden money.

lvg
lvg

@Dimick Orange Clown's solution - end the sequester and throw billions more at the military.

Dimick
Dimick

@lvg @Dimick If the military can waste $125 billion they don't need more money, when, as it appears, they cannot manage money. 




The GOA needs to audit the Pentagon. 

Dimick
Dimick

German Chancellor Angela Merkelhas come to see the failure of her open borders policy only to now realize what conservatives have known along: A nation without "secure borders" will not survive for very long. 

Unlike Obama and Hillary, advocates for open borders, our President elect Trump supports very secure borders.

Long live the United States of America's, secure borders.  

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

General Mattis, will be confirmed or the Dems in congress will be taken out by shock action or by close combat. Only joking...LOL

Stephenson_Billings
Stephenson_Billings

Can't make this stuff up, even in the Onion.


"Over last 8 years, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland" —@POTUS

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Stephenson_Billings 

He had many Pinocchio's in his speech at MacDill AFB. Good thing for him he didn't choose Camp Lejeune.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Just think of how much of the Boeing 4 Billion was earmarked for the democrat election campaign. Before Trump snatched it away, that is.

lvg
lvg

@AndyManUSA#45 No 4 billion contract . 170 million feasibility and design  contract currently. The Fuhrer lied after Boeing President criticized him. Cons will believe anything the  new Fuhrer says.

DrinkingAtNoon
DrinkingAtNoon

"or are content with Bud Light,"

The only time I'm content with Bud Light is if I'm pouring it on the head of some Occupy Wall Street idiot. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Obama's trying to write his legacy as the longest term wartime president at MacDill AFB. He said he had to withdraw 150,000 troops from Iraq to fight the real war in Afghanistan. The Democrats had to dub in the applause.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Kyle, must have gone on a bender up in Asheville.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@DrinkingAtNoon @SGTGrit 

So? Well drink up evidently you've been doing so, since early afternoon. BTW....take the rubber nipple off of the bottle. LOL

Dimick
Dimick

Soft Bank of Japan to invest $50 Billion and create 50,000 jobs in the U.S.. when Soft Bank spokesmen was ask was this because of  Mr. Trump, he said yes. 

Stock Market continues on the upside over 19,000. 

Headly, say Thank You President elect Trump.

lvg
lvg

@Dimick Fake News  to influence Trump to end regulatory objection to merger of Sprint (owned by Soft) and T-Mobile.Cons are so gullible. Money allocated back in October for worldwide startups/.

DrinkingAtNoon
DrinkingAtNoon

Yep.


TIME WARNER CEO: The 'real threat' to the First Amendment came from Democrats, not Trump

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Just think, in 6 weeks or so, you will be able to visit the doctor without having to take out a 2nd mortgage on the house. And the democrats think you will pitch fit about it.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@DrinkingAtNoon @IReportYouWhine I wish Trump hadn't left Janice Rodgers Brown off of his list, a black woman that is more of a Con than even Ted Cruz is. Go read up on some of her decisions. She's on the 2nd highest federal court in the land right now, I guess they figured she can best be used there.

Dimick
Dimick

@IReportYouWhine After Price finishes off health care it will cost you more once the volume no longer makes up the price differences due to fewer patients who have insurance.

Andy, can you say Medicare with Plan F. )  yada yada yada...