(Jocelyn Ruark is the Marketing Manager at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery)
In an election year where jobs are an important issue, I would like to comment on North Carolina breweries and local manufacturing job growth.
Nine million barrels of beer are consumed in North Carolina each year.
Over 96% of that beer is non-local, made somewhere else. Despite the recent growth in the number of breweries across our state and the perception that local breweries are getting “huge,” only 4% of the beer consumed in North Carolina is made in-state.
When beer is manufactured and consumed in North Carolina, 90 cents of every dollar stays in our communities and benefits North Carolinians. Non-local beer production and consumption sends billions of dollars out of our state each year!
How do we create the shift to more local production?
By electing candidates who support local manufacturing job growth via North Carolina breweries.
Local brewery production is currently being stunted by an outdated, arbitrary barrel cap law. The barrel cap law mandates that a brewery producing over 25,000 barrels of beer in a calendar year must enter into a contract with a large beer wholesaler or stop production.
There are many reasons why a local brewery might not want to work with a 3rd party wholesaler. For instance, to eliminate redundancy, the wholesaler usually demands that the local brewery lay-off its Sales, Distribution, and Marketing teams.
If Olde Mecklenburg Brewery were to go over the cap and be forced to sign with a wholesaler, I could lose my job. And so could many others. At OMB alone, signing with a wholesaler would mean 14 lay-offs or 17% of our full-time staff — many of whom have been here since day one.
On the other hand, if the barrel cap law was changed and local breweries across the state could produce a higher percentage of the beer consumed here, the local beer industry could continue to grow, create more NC jobs, and make a bigger impact supporting communities across our state.
As we approach election day, I urge voters to ask candidates if they support local manufacturing job growth via local North Carolina breweries. Find out if they support an increase in the 25,000 barrel cap law.
An increase in the barrel cap law is an increase in jobs for North Carolinians and an opportunity to keep North Carolina dollars in North Carolina.