Well Crafted NC: The history, business, and culture of North Carolina beer

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Pop The Cap: North Carolinians for Specialty Beer

Pop The Cap: North Carolinians for Specialty Beer was a movement begun in 2003 by 35 people with the expressed goal of getting a bill on the 2005 NCGA legislative calendar that would raise the alcohol by volume (ABV) cap in North Carolina from 6%. This percentage had been in place since the end of Prohibition in 1935 when mill owners lobbied the legislature, fearing their employees wouldn’t show up for work on Mondays. On August 13, 2005 Governor Mike Easley signed HB 392 into law, and the ABV cap was increased from 6 to 15 percent.

Oral history interview with Julie Johnson (2019)

I had an idea of what didn't work, and I laid it out, and I basically said, "So," I didn't quite say who's with me, but, "Is this the year we're going to modernize North Carolina beer laws?" And then I hit send, and they printed it. And then people started emailing. "Okay, what are you gonna do about it?"

Julie Johnson, former co-owner and editor of All About Beer magazine, discusses beer journalism, the publishing industry, Pop The Cap, the World Beer Festival, changes in Durham, and both the local and national craft brewing culture.

View the Julie Johnson oral history interview.

Oral history interview with Sean Lilly Wilson (2018)

We knew what the goal was, we just had no idea how to do it.... We literally thought that maybe a petition would work? In retrospect it's so laughably naive. We had plenty of 'bless your heart' moments in our early days as we tried to get this thing going.

Sean Lilly Wilson, owner and Chief Executive Optimist at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, North Carolina, discusses his brewery as well as his work on the Pop the Cap initiative, which lifted North Carolina's restriction on the alcohol by volume (ABV) of beers in the state. Among the topics discussed are: advocacy work and Pop the Cap, the work and challenges of opening Fullsteam in 2010, Fullsteam's "plow to pint" philosophy and the commitment to local ingredients, the connections between beer and food, and the "Southern Beer Economy."

View the Sean Lilly Wilson oral history interview.

Pop The Cap: North Carolinians for Specialty Beer Archive