Image by Jim Nix Sierra Nevada is one the latest breweries to pick North Carolina.
After three large breweries west of the Mississippi picked North Carolina as their brewing home, Timmons Pettigrew over at CHSBeer.org has penned a piece asking why is it that South Carolina's political leaders aren't recognizing the potential of the beer industry.
Word is that the North Carolina craft brewing economic impact leaves a wake of 37,000 jobs and $3.8 billion.
These numbers speak for themselves. Unfortunately, our State House doesn't seem to be listening. North Carolina breweries enjoy limited self-distribution, where production up to a certain number of barrels can be sold directly to on- and off-premise accounts by the brewery.
Don't get me wrong, South Carolina has made serious strides over the last five years. We popped (rather raised) the draconian alcohol cap on beer in 2007, and ushered in legal tastings and limited direct-to-consumer sales at breweries in 2009. But until we reach parity with North Carolina, out-of-state breweries will continue to look towards the greener grass north of our border.
Check out Pettigrew's perspective on the could-be-more South Carolina beer industry over here.