GREENSBORO—A Charlotte-based craft brewery is forced to lose an investment of more than $100,000 it made in the Triad area, because of a law that prevents it from growing.
There are three dozen taps at River Ridge Taphouse in Clemmons.
Seven of them used to pour the restaurant's most popular beer—Olde Mecklenburg Brew—until a couple of weeks ago.
"No other brewery had that presence here,” said Thomas Kriston with River Ridge TapHouse. “That's nearly a fifth of the entire taps base that we have here for craft beer. That’s what Olde Meck was to us."
Last year, the company expanded its market into the Triad, spending $130,000 on a distribution center in Greensboro.
It grew, producing about 20,000 barrels.
"There's a state law on the books that says a company cannot self-distribute more than 25,000 barrels a year,” said Olde Meck’s Ryan Self.
After that, companies have to give distribution to a third party—so Olde Meck had to take a look at how it could downsize, or face stiff penalties.
“Of course, you think 'what's least efficient, what's furthest from home base for us?’” Self said. “Unfortunately, that was the Triad market. We spent a year and half doing hard work, spending time up here and doing a lot of brand marketing. We're now faced with undoing all that and not being able to sell to our clients up here."
"When we had to break the news to our customers, I think shock and confusion was the reaction,” Kriston said.
Both owners of Olde Meck and restaurants like River Ridge Taphouse describe the law as antiquated, and they're hoping folks like you will contact your state lawmakers to get it changed.
"96% of beer consumed in this state is made outside North Carolina,” Self said. “So when that happens, you see a wealth transfer."
Until the law changes, Self says his company will focus only on its Charlotte market.
The brewery is also nationally recognized.
In 2014, USA Today named it the number one brewery tour in the country.
For more information about getting the law changed, visit craftfreedom.org.