Known for its world-class workforce and friendly regulatory environment, North Carolina has long been an agricultural and food manufacturing behemoth. But as the craft beer industry continues to gain steam, the state’s reputation has shifted to include high-volume, quality beer production in its already impressive offering.
So, why has beer taken off in the Tar Heel State? A combination of relaxed legislation, clean waterways and easy access to major transportation arteries has led the way, experts say. In 2005, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley signed “Pop the Cap,” a bill to raise the alcohol limit on beer sold in the state from 6 percent to 15 percent. It also allowed the sale and creation of a fuller range of beer styles. This legislation, in combination with adjustments to the distribution laws that enabled local breweries to thrive, has allowed North Carolina to lead the charge toward trendier, artfully crafted suds.