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We called. We wrote. We conquered.

In February 2003, a motley group of thirty-five beer lovers gathered at the All About Beer office to discuss one issue: how to lift North Carolina’s 6% alcohol by volume cap on beer. For seventy years, North Carolina had imposed a 6% ABV restriction on beer sold and brewed within the state. Only four other states have such a severe restriction:

  • West Virginia
  • South Carolina
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi

The thirty-five of us were fed up. This relic of Prohibition made it illegal to brew or sell one-third of the world’s beer styles, including gourmet Belgian ales, hoppy IPAs, and intensely malty dopplebocks. Beers meant for sipping and savoring…nothing like the American light lagers that dominate North Carolina’s storeshelves.

For two-and-a-half years, this group of thirty-five no-nothings (yes, yours truly included!) grew into a grassroots movement of thousands of North Carolinians. We hired a lobbyist, the amazing Theresa Kostrzewa. In our first legislative push, the Pop The Cap bill passed two House committees, two Senate committees, the House floor, and the Senate floor. Such progress is almost unheard of, especially with such a potentially volatile issue as raising an alcohol cap. We overcame intense resistance from old-line distributors, neo-Prohibitionist interest groups, and Senator John “Drinking straight vodka” Kerr.

On August 13, 2005, Governor Mike Easley signed House Bill 392 into law, lifting the 6% ABV cap to a more-reasonable 15%. We called, we wrote, we conquered. We popped the cap…and we’re just getting started.

If you are interested in gaining access to our lobbying materials, please email Sean Wilson. Please include a brief explanation as to your goals and current status. We’ll then guide you to our archived lobbying materials.