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Comment Archives: stories: Food & Drink: Eat My Charlotte

Re: “Wake and bake: How to cook with cannabis

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Posted by john summer on 06/24/2015 at 4:23 PM

Re: “Checking in at Heist Brewery

I hope that CL wil send their food critic to Heist in the near future as they have hired a new executive chef. I'm looking forward to trying some of her takes on that classic Twisted menu.

Posted by Steve Epstein on 06/24/2015 at 12:57 PM

Re: “Paula Deen's Chicken and Rice Casserole

Could you use Ritz cracker in this recipe as the crunchy thing in said of water chestnuts

Posted by Olivia Belawske on 05/25/2015 at 11:43 AM

Re: “Paula Deen's Chicken and Rice Casserole

Would this work using either cracker and the crunchy thing

Posted by Olivia Belawske on 05/25/2015 at 11:42 AM

Re: “S'more Cupcakes

You need to 3/4 cup of graham crackers with 3/4 cup self rising flour. Beat the egg whites ( which is missing in this recipe) and fold into batter then bake. This will fix the rise issue. I also recommend buttermilk to replace milk. This change to this recipe will produce lighter cupcakes that will still have the graham cracker you are looking for. Happy baking.

Posted by Patricia A. Fredrickson on 05/19/2015 at 6:17 PM

Re: “This petition against brewery law/distribution revisions is misleading

Why should I care if a distributor's portifolio is "gutted" over time? Distributors don't exist simply for the sake of existing, they need to provide value. If it were a legitimately good business model for a business to use distributors, then there would be no gutting portfolios. If they do not provide such a value, then they deserve to have their portfolios diminished.

We aren't arguing what may be bad or good for consumers. The argument is about fair business practice. As a consumer, I'd love a law which forces a brewery to give me free beer, but the implications of such a law would have a negative impact on the brewing industry. While hyperbole, the concept still applies: a healthy and successful business should be allowed to thrive in a legal and healthy way, without being forced to make bad business decisions.

If a distributor can add value to a brewery (and I believe they can), then it could be a wonderful relationship, perfectly solved in the free-market. Allowing the government to force a business into such a relationship without regard to the needs of that particular business, only serves to undermine the health of an otherwise thriving industry.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by beezneezy on 04/29/2015 at 2:23 PM

Re: “Craft brewers in the crosshairs of regional distributors

I've sent mine as well:

Dear Representatives,

I choose to send this from my personal email account, but can assure that I am a real person and would be happy to provide additional information to verify. I'm writing in regards to two bills (H278, H625) which are known to be "dead in the water" with no accountability or answer provided. Craft beer, and our breweries is an industry that we need to embrace. It is an enormous and rapidly job creator, gaining ground and momentum in many secondary markets, and will only continue to become more and more important to you and me as time goes by.

Choosing to work with a distributor is a business decision, and as such should be decided by free market conditions. If any business can successfully distribute their own product, then so be it, that's the American way. If a brewery cannot successfully self distribute, at that point they may decide to use a distributor who may help them achieve a level of success they may not previously have attained. This concept used time and time again, by millions of businesses across the country, and I see no reason why the government needs to step with with such arbitrary limitations...

Below is an email sent to your office by Jonathan Wells; whose sentiments I echo, and include it knowing you have already read it. I sincerely hope that at some point messages like these, make it past your clerks, and land on your desk.

Email from Jonathan -

Two bills are currently stuck in your committee (H278, H625) that are vital to the continued success and growth of the North Carolina craft beer industry. Lately, beer distributors launched a “grassroots” campaign of deceit, designed to appear in support of the very industry they’re actually working to stifle.

You can find a break-down of their fear-mongering campaign here: http://clclt.com/eatmycharlotte/archives/2015/04/22/this-petition-against-brewery-law-distribution-revisions-is-misleading

In recent years, North Carolina has done well by luring massive national craft brewers to our state, searching for a second location. Breweries like New Belgium, Oskar Blues, and Sierra Nevada will certainly invest capital and create North Carolina jobs. But the reason they’re opening a second facility here isn’t because NC’s such a great place to be; it’s because their home states have laws in place that allow them to flourish and expand.

Already, over 130 breweries call North Carolina home. They employ NC workers and pay NC taxes, but they need your help. Please support H278 and H625. It’s great to be a state that’s proud of landing large craft breweries eager to open a second location; it’s better still to help homegrown breweries emulate that success.

Posted by beezneezy on 04/29/2015 at 12:33 PM

Re: “This petition against brewery law/distribution revisions is misleading

Emory, if contracting with a distributor is as good of a deal for small breweries as you say it is, then why do you need laws to force them to do so?

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Josh Davis on 04/28/2015 at 9:50 PM

Re: “This petition against brewery law/distribution revisions is misleading

Emory, why should a brewery be FORCED to use a distributor at all? Why is there an arbitrary barrel amount, over which, a brewery HAS to use a distributor? This doesn't exist for any other market. Dairy farmers aren't forced to use a distributor once they start producing 100,000 gallons of milk. Nor are orange growers forced to use a distributor for their juice.

Why does this law exist at all?

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Robert Adams on 04/24/2015 at 3:59 PM

Re: “Craft brewers in the crosshairs of regional distributors

Email sent. Thanks for the letter. I sent a similar one.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by jmaysnc on 04/24/2015 at 2:35 PM

Re: “Craft brewers in the crosshairs of regional distributors

Representative James Boles is also a co-chair. Contact info here: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/Comm…

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Anthony Proctor on 04/24/2015 at 12:28 PM

Re: “This petition against brewery law/distribution revisions is misleading

Your article though informative may confusing to the reader who doesn't live on sarcasm.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by MikeR on 04/24/2015 at 7:28 AM

Re: “This petition against brewery law/distribution revisions is misleading

Full disclosure: I'm a believer in the Free Market.

Emory: You make a compelling argument for local breweries to use a distributor, but that's all it is: a sales pitch.

Bottom line: it should be up to the brewery to decide whether or not it uses a distributor. Period. The idea that a company *must* use an intermediary to get its product to market is ridiculous and completely antithetical to the way we do business here in America. (And yes, I played the 'Mur'ca card).

That said, I'll go you one further: we should get rid of the cap altogether. Viva la capitalism!

12 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Anthony Proctor on 04/24/2015 at 7:22 AM

Re: “This petition against brewery law/distribution revisions is misleading

I should also note that the contract brewing, and wine sale provisions are not at issue. Only the raising of the barrel limit and the "not counting on-site sales toward barrel count" bits.

Posted by Emory Barrett Pueschel on 04/23/2015 at 9:42 PM

Re: “This petition against brewery law/distribution revisions is misleading

Full disclosure: I work for a distributor.

First, whomever may be behind the website is irrelevant. MillerCoors and ABInbev would not really be affected by these bills in the slightest. In fact, they would benefit in the long term if the three-tier system were slowly dismantled. They are too busy fighting over tenths of percentage points in market share.

Second, there is no such thing as a non-craft distributor in the Charlotte market. All beer and wine distributors have some craft breweries in their portfolios, and some more than others.

Next, as usual there is only one side presented. Ask the people at Red Oak, NoDa, or Olde Mecklenburg, and they'll likely argue that they are being kept out of the market by distributors.*

*Fun Fact: distributors don't have much say in what goes on the shelves anymore.

Now ask the folks at Foothills, Aviator, Old Hickory, or Highland about their experience working with distributors. I'll not speak for them, but I will wager you will get two completely different answers from each group.

Iin truth, these bills would be a great detriment to all distributors in the state, so they would have a major stake in this battle. It would gut most companies' portfolios. Maybe not immediately, but the potential is there.

But why would this be bad for consumers? Most distributors have management-level employees who act as go-betweens for the suppliers (brewers) and the store chains. They work out the weekly deals, make suggestions for new products to go into the cold boxes and warm shelves during resets (but only suggestions. final say is still made by the chains and usually based on existing sales figures for established brands.) Granted, these sorts of things can be handled by the breweries themselves, but it takes time to build the relationships the distributors have already established. If you compare craft six pack prices around the rest of the US with the Charlotte market you'll quickly see how, at least in our market, distributors are a good thing.

Ask Triple C about how they got into Harris Teeters. I watched this process personally. They had to work really hard at it starting at the store level, and it still it took them about a year just to get on warm shelves in a handful of stores. Longer to get in the cold boxes. Keep in mind they are local and competitively priced.

Now consider the opposite extreme: Ballast Point. Non-local, and their Sculpin IPA is the most expensive six pack in most grocery cold boxes. They signed on to a local distributor and were in the cold boxes within a couple of months.

So there are pros and cons to both distribution models. I am not privy to the cost details for either side. But from my biased point-of-view contracting with a distributor is a good investment. No need for a brewery to build warehousing or order placement and delivery infrastructure. Local marketing and advertising gets handled by the distributor because if it doesn't sell, they lose money not the brewery (current law prohibits selling product back on any step of the three tiers.) I would argue that the time and money saved and reinvested into actually developing and making product far outweighs the short-term DIY method.

But, as mentioned above, I do have a pony in this race.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Emory Barrett Pueschel on 04/23/2015 at 9:29 PM

Re: “This petition against brewery law/distribution revisions is misleading

Art, I didn't want to assume who was behind it. So far, no one organization has stepped up and actually claimed credit for that "petition." I can say which distributor(s) were at the root of the e-mail chain that tipped me off to this story: Caffee out of Greensboro, and Carolina Premium out of Charlotte. I don't want to say if they're behind this, because I honestly don't know yet. But if it quacks like a duck...

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jonathan Wells on 04/23/2015 at 9:17 PM

Re: “This petition against brewery law/distribution revisions is misleading

Silly me, I should have actually looked at the petition's website. It's clear who is behind it --
"544 of those workers are employed at the state’s largest brewery—the MillerCoors plant in Eden where fulltime wages and benefits average $85,000. Another 5,600 N.C. workers are directly employed by independent beer distributors. The distributor employees have fulltime jobs with highly competitive wages and benefits averaging $71,000."

So yeah, it is (1) the macrobrewers *AND* (2) the large, non-craft distributors. Something the author would have been wise to point out in his article. And this further calls into question the integrity of the people behind the petition. The bills aren't about stifling the growth of homegrown breweries, it's about making life more difficult/expensive for the local breweries in favor of BMC and the distributors. F*** THEM.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Art Vandelay on 04/23/2015 at 2:42 PM

Re: “This petition against brewery law/distribution revisions is misleading

So, if the local breweries aren't behind the petition/website -- and you rightly point out how that is unlikely -- who *is* behind the petition/website? My money is on either (1) AB Inbev and its fellow macrobrewers, and/or (2) the large, non-craft distributors.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Art Vandelay on 04/23/2015 at 2:34 PM

Re: “Eat With Your Dollars: Chocolate

+ meant to add: maybe we can turn hershey around!

Posted by fair chocolate all the way on 04/10/2015 at 10:27 AM

Re: “Eat With Your Dollars: Chocolate

Hi, glad to have stumbled on this, such an important issue! I hope you'll write about it again. :)

Posted by fair chocolate all the way on 04/10/2015 at 10:25 AM

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