A pair of “beer bills” made their way through the legislature this year and were signed into law. House Bill 829, sponsored by Representative McGrady, allows the sale of malt beverages in refillable 64 oz. containers (known as “Growlers”) in grocery stores, wine shops, bars, restaurants, and other establishments where alcoholic beverages are already sold. Growlers are currently sold in South Carolina and, since North Carolina is the home of nearly 100 craft breweries, the new law is expected to make our brewers’ product more available.
According to the Beer Institute, the state’s breweries contributed over 65,000 jobs to the state and more than $7 billion to the state economy last year. “Enactment of the Growler Bill will allow the industry to continue to thrive and help ensure that the state remains a craft beer epicenter in the future, said Patrick Gleason in a June 26 article in Forbes Magazine. “The Growler Bill isn’t just a boon to brewers and beer nerds; the expansion of commerce it will generate is also good news for the state economy.”
House Bill 610 allows vendors to sell beer in the seating areas of smaller-sized sporting arenas and stadiums in North Carolina. Currently, the law only allows roaming retail beer sales in stadiums with a 60,000-seat or greater capacity and in cities with populations of over 450,000 people — effectively shutting out every other venue in North Carolina except the 73,000-seat Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
The new law lowers the seating threshold from 60,000 to 3,000, and it eliminates the “hometown population” requirement — opening up in-stand beer sales for dozens of college football stadiums and minor league baseball stadiums in tens of thousands of communities all around the state. Selling beer in the stands alongside other food and drinks provides convenience for sports fans (especially those with mobility issues) and will certainly reduce foot traffic and long lines at vending stations. Other portions of the current law would remain in effect, including prohibiting employees from verbally shouting or hawking the sale of beer, not allowing sales to the underaged or visibly intoxicated, and the requirement that food and non-alcoholic drinks also also be available to North Carolina’s millions of sports fans.