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Craft Brewers Take North Carolina To Court

Tom Bullock

NoDa and Olde Mecklenburg breweries, along with members of a craft brewers group filed the case in Wake County Superior Court Monday.

The brewers argue two state laws which force them to enter distribution contracts if they produce more than 25,000 barrels of beer a year violate the North Carolina constitution.

The brewers are represented by former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr who put out a statement which reads in part, "These laws violate multiple provisions of the North Carolina Constitution, including those that prohibit the government from taking private property from one person and giving it to another."

State law requires breweries that exceed the 25,000 barrel cap to sign with a middleman to sell their beer to restaurants, bars, grocery stores and any other establishment which can legally sell their product. The lawsuit alleges this arrangement forces brewers to give up control of their product, the price of the beer and how and where it is marketed.

The North Carolina Beer and Wine Wholesaler's Association, which represents distributors say they are still reviewing the lawsuit.