Craft Freedom and the Great Beer Compromise


For years, major craft brewing companies had a desire to reform North Carolina’s beer distribution laws so their businesses could grow and prosper.  A solution that satisfied both the large craft brewing companies and North Carolina’s beer distributors had been elusive.

SPS's Role

Two major craft brewing companies appointed SPS to lead its strategic campaign to reform North Carolina’s beer distribution laws.  Dubbing the effort “Craft Freedom”, SPS conducted public opinion research, engaged in coalition-building with other like-minded organizations, initiated a digital campaign, helped secure and manage a lobbying team, and executed a very successful earned media push.

The Result

Following unanimous votes in the State Senate and State House, and with the support of both the major craft brewers and the state’s beer distributors, the Craft Beer Distribution & Modernization Act was signed into law in 2019.  The landmark legislation allows large craft beer companies to grow and prosper while preserving North Carolina’s three-tier beer distribution system.

“Paul Shumaker and Dee Stewart helped us achieve our strategic objectives, which at times seemed out of reach. Their strategic thinking and willingness to try different approaches are what ultimately reformed North Carolina’s beer laws. They are easy to work with, and they are experts in their field.”

- Suzie and Todd Ford
Owners, Noda Brewing Company
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