Charlotte City Council loosens zoning requirements for breweries

Yesterday, the Charlotte City Council voted unanimously to pass an amendment easing the restrictions on where a brewery can expand. Before yesterday, breweries (and other entertainment establishments) were required to be at least 400 feet from a residential area. Now, they can be as close as 100 feet. This will allow brewery expansion in the NoDa neighborhood, and other areas, of Charlotte. This new amendment is a positive step forward for the Charlotte craft beer community.

Big Boss Brewing expanding to SC

Raleigh’s Big Boss Brewing has recently expanded into South Carolina. Bad Penny (and some of their other brews) are now available in Charleston, Columbia, Rock Hill, and Greenville. This is the first time Big Boss has distributed outside of North Carolina.

Big Boss is currently working on its Bourbon, wine, and Tequila barrel-aging program after completing an expansion on their fermentation and condition capabilities last year.

You can follow Big Boss on their Facebook page.

Anheuser-Busch opposing Natty Greene’s trademark

Last year, Greensboro’s Natty Greene Brewing Co. filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Natty Greene’s Brewing is named after Nathaniel Green, the Revolutionary War General that Greensboro is named after and has been brewing beer under that name since at least 2004. Anhueser-Busch has come along and filed an opposition for that trademark because of their ever-popular college beer, Natural Light. As we all know, Natural Light is often referred to as Natty Light and Anhueser-Busch has already trademarked “Natty Light,” “Fatty Natty,” and “Natty Daddy.”

Anhueser-Busch, one of the largest beer brands in the world is scared of North Carolina’s 3rd largest brewery infringing on what can only be described as water in a beer can. Natty Light wasn’t good in college and it’s not good now either. I don’t think anyone would confuse a Natty Light with a Natty Greene’s.

Stay tuned for updates.

[UPDATE]

As reported in wfmynews2.com (link), Natty Greene’s is standing strong and preparing to file an answer to what they believe is a losing argument by Anhueser-Busch.

Where will Stone land?

There have been rumors that Charlotte is on the short-list for Stone Brewing Co.’s East Coast Facility. However, the Charlotte media, the Charlotte Chamber, and Stone have not yet confirmed that rumor. Media in other cities have gone public that their cities have made the most recent round of cuts. These cities include Greensboro, Norfolk, VA, Cincinnati, OH, and Greenville, SC.

As a refresher: Stone Brewing is planning on building an East Coast facility that has all the amenities and features of its Escondido facility and will involve between $20-$30 million in capital expenditures as well has hiring over 300 local workers in the first 3 years.

Stay tuned for an update.

Stone narrowing down the contenders

Members of Stone Brewing Co. have been seen recently  in cities that submitted proposals to the craft beer giant for their East Coast operation. This trip did not include South Carolina. However, it appears that Stone will be making another trip east and South Carolina will be on that itinerary with the recent passage of the Stone Bill.

Stone received north of 200 submissions and has already cut that number down to around 50. The next round of cuts will narrow the field to 10 with both Charlotte and areas in South Carolina hopeful to make the cut.

Stone Bill signed into law by Gov. Haley

What is known as the Stone Bill was officially signed into law late last night by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

This opens the possibility for South Carolina to not only attract Stone Brewing (the nation’s 10th largest craft brewer), but also for smaller local craft breweries to expand their operations as well as allow new breweries to open.

The Bill will allow craft brewers to increase the amount of beer served on site, as long as they serve food. The amount of food needed to serve in conjunction with the increased production is not yet apparent. The amount was just raised last year to the equivalent of 3 pints per person; at the time, it was a big win for the craft brewers. However, with Stone looking to open a facility east of the Mississippi River, 3 pints per person was not going to cut it.

The new law will take effect on July 1.

Stone Bill moves forward in SC

After a few bumps, the Stone Bill is back on track. The Conference Committee passed the Stone Bill yesterday after a compromise between the craft brewers and the wholesalers. State legislators says SC is back in the running for Stone’s east-coast operation.

The Stone Bill now heads to South Carolina’s House of Representatives and Senate for votes before hopefully landing on the desk of Gov. Haley.