Beer and Loathing in Cary

Posted by Pop The Cap on April 26th, 2007

Cary’s “Lazy Daze,” an August art festival, is adding a beer garden. A nonprofit called the Sister Cities Association plans to use the funds from the sale of beer to support its cultural exchange initiatives with Cary’s four international sister cities.


OH NOS! Cary is going to have buh-ear at a family festival! EVERYONE PANIC! Here is a sampling of some letters to the editor from both the Cary News and the Raleigh News and Observer. Names withheld.

Would someone please explain to me the need, not the desire, for beer to be available at Lazy Daze? Just the thought of adults wanting to make preteens and teens aware that alcohol is an accepted beverage is beyond me. Can so-called “responsible adults” not see how alcohol is the reason for broken homes, job loss, abuse, financial probjems, health issues, incurable diseases, automobile accidents and other accidents that cause injury and death to both innocent and guilty people?

(Yes, I am — and you are — merely a “so-called ‘responsible adult.’” While we’re at it, let’s ban cars because they cause accidents to innocent and guilty people. And cell phones. Oh, and coffee — you know, because that old woman one time burned herself from McDonald’s coffee.)

(continued)My husband and I have always maintained the following standard in our home: If the beverage we consume can’t be given to a toddler then we don’t put it to our lips. Our beverages consist of milk, juice, tea, coffee, soft drinks and Cary Lazy Daze delicious apple cider, but never alcohol. This is our standard also in restaurants or any social function.

(Er, you recommend toddlers drink coffee and soft drinks, but *I’m* irresponsible?)

A new one:

I see no value in having a beer garden at our Lazy Daze festival. We are experiencing many tragedies produced by alcohol. Many of our families, churches and schools are making efforts to discourage the consumption of alcohol. I feel our town leaders need to do the same. A beer garden lends nothing to the uniqueness and wholesomeness of this family-oriented event. I oppose the proposed beer garden and I encourage the Lazy Daze Committee to reject it.

(Let’s demonize, hide, and mystify beer! The kids will never know it exists! So much better than, say, integrating it into our lives as a healthful, enjoyable beverage.)

One last letter:

How many years before some group petitions for a little nudity nook, cocaine corner or a topless place like the one just around the corner, which came while Cary slept. We are awake now, and we have options. Keep pushing. You will learn this has more opposition than you might think.

No comment on that one.

Some people have problems with beer, and alcohol in general. And tragically, some have lost family members at the hands of irresponsible drinkers, which pains me to no end.

People have the right to express their opposition — you know, the whole “free country” thing. But the hyperbole and fear is just plain goofy. Thankfully, residents have written letters of support to news outlets. And the festival organizers are creating a beer garden that will respect beer, have excellent security and oversight, add value to the festival, and provide needed funds to a local nonprofit.

Relax, City of Anxious Residents Yammering. Some of y’all worry too much.

Julie Bradford passed along this article to me. The writer does a great job of capturing the risks and uncertainty surrounding the August (not April) 2005 lifting of the cap, as well as the current state of the market. Big props to author Tanner Kroeger and to John Shuck of the Carolina Brewing Company.


Local beer brewers embrace new legal limit
As of April (sic) 2005, NC can sell beer containing up to 15 percent alcohol — a change that has created new opportunities for breweries
Tanner Kroeger
Issue date: 4/17/07 Section: News

John Shuck knows beer. He’s a connoisseur, one might say. Sure, he started as an electrical engineer, working five years at a firm in Los Angeles, Calif., but after that, his life has been all about beer.

He worked in a microbrewery in Seattle, Wa. He also took classes in beer making in Chicago, Ill. And in July 1995, the then 29-year-old packed up his things and moved to Holly Springs, N.C., where he and his younger brother Greg teamed with their college-buddy, Joe Zonin, founded Carolina Brewing Company.

Twelve years and nearly 100,000 kegs of beer later, John, Greg and Joe operate one of North Carolina’s most successful microbreweries.

But it’s been an interesting three years for beer makers in the state. Amid trying to overturn a 70-year-old prohibition holdover law that limited alcohol by volume, some of the microbreweries faced a boycott of their distributor and saw profits take a substantial hit as a result.

And now that the law is changed and the boycott ended, North Carolina’s beer-making industry is starting to develop itself, catching up to the best in the nation.

Read the full article

New PTC newsletter

Posted by Pop The Cap on April 16th, 2007

The new Pop The Cap newsletter is now available. Rock on! If you don’t receive it in your Inbox, feel free to subscribe to the right. –>

A little excerpt, just for fun. Fixed for clarity on 4/17/07.

A New Cause?

I got a little mad at the North Carolina wine industry the other day. They’re just so, well, organized.

You see, I found out that this year’s Moore Square Farmer’s Market in Raleigh will feature North Carolina wineries who will provide samples and sell bottles of wine directly to the public.

The North Carolina General Statutes allow wineries to do this. Read the statute (bold mine):

G.S. 18B-1114.1. Authorization of winery special event permit.
Fee: $200.00

(a) Authorization. -The holder of an unfortified winery permit, limited winery permit or a wine producer permit may obtain a winery special event permit allowing the winery or wine producer to give free tastings of its wine, and to sell its wine by the glass or in closed containers, at trade shows, conventions, shopping malls, wine festivals, street festivals, holiday festivals, agricultural festivals, balloon races, local fund-raisers, and other similar events approved by the Commission.

Now substitute “brewery” for “winery.” Think this would fly? It might…if the North Carolina beer industry actually looked into it. Meanwhile, the NC wine producers — by tying in agriculture, tourism, and political know-how — has paved the way for state wineries to sell direct to the public for a mere $200. Kudos to them, and I mean that sincerely.

The Moore Square Farmers Market wants to include NC breweries as well. However, there’s no legal provision to allow this. Thankfully, the good people at the NC Wine and Grape Council are looking into ways the state’s breweries can share booth space or otherwise get invovled…but it’s only because they believe in the greater good of advocating NC-produced beer and wine.

It’s time for the best beer state in the South to grow up. Get focused. And fight for the rights NC wine producers have championed for themselves.

Stay tuned. A new cause may be emerging, and you may see some changes with our mission and focus. Balloon races and craft beer in 2008!