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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!

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