LETTER: Beer traders argument falls short

The North State Journal | Madeline Gray

The doublespeak spouting from North Carolina’s beer distributor cartel as it clings desperately to the financial and political protectionism that a misguided state law affords it is worthy of the late English writer George Orwell: “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.”Insincerity helps explain how moneyed middlemen with a state-mandated vise grip on North Carolina’s beer industry could complain with a straight face that entrepreneurial local brewers struggling to escape the shackles of unwanted, unneeded, coercive business relationships seek “self-interest legislation” and “want to stack the deck in their favor at the expense of everyone else,” (“A handful of brewers seek special legislative treatment,” March 4). That’s pure Orwellian poppycock.We local brewers in North Carolina’s Craft Freedom movement — like most of our state’s citizens and a growing number of legislators — agree that breweries should be free to contract with distributors if they wish.But conversely, the government should not punish homegrown breweries by commanding us to hand over our brands, sales, marketing, and much of our revenue to distributors. Each brewery should be free to choose which commercial model best suits it, and the state should not interfere in their private business decisions.Most local brewers across North Carolina would benefit from the law’s reform because they would no longer be forced to make crucial business decisions at arbitrary production thresholds — a harmful market distortion that discourages growth, hiring, and investment.We don’t want special privilege. We just want the same right that every other business in North Carolina enjoys: the freedom to decide how to take our products to market.That’s the American Way. It should be the way of North Carolina, which claims to be “First in Freedom.” Are we?John MarrinoFounder, The Olde Mecklenburg BreweryCharlotte