As we have begun telling people (read: everyone we've ever met) about The Glass Jug, one question that keeps coming up, given that we're homebrewers, is whether or not we will be brewing our own beer at The Glass Jug. That is actually a more complicated question than most people realize. While we would love to brew our own beer, it would require a much larger space and upfront investment in equipment, in addition to extra labor, and could possibly land us in trouble with the ABC commission.
The US beer market operates within the three tier system. This basically means that:
- Breweries make the beer & sell it to distributors
- Then, distributors sell it to retailers
- And only then can retailers sell it to the public.
There are some common exceptions for small breweries, allowing them to self-distribute and operate their own tap rooms. However, from our understanding of the law, a retail beer store cannot also own a brewery, because we would have too many "guest taps" to be considered a brewery tap room.
Beyond this, we have opted to open a retail bottle shop and growler filling station because we have seen the massive growth in craft breweries in North Carolina - to the tune of a 30%+ increase in the number of craft breweries in our state last year alone! NC now has roughly 100 craft breweries. Yes, seriously. And all of these breweries need places to sell their beer. While we have seen several bottle shops open over the past few years, it has not yet matched the growth we've seen in breweries.
But, back to the main question - we are still homebrewers at heart, so we are working on ways to get some of our own recipes into the store without necessarily brewing it on-site. The first will be the Berlin Menagerie, which is my berliner weisse beer that I brewed alongside the crew at Raleigh Brewing Company after winning the Carolina Quarterly Brew-Off 2013. And while we cannot legally co-brand any beer with breweries (back to the three tier issue), we do have plans to work with some of our favorite local breweries to craft some special limited release beers to put in your growlers. We're not ready to release any details yet, but be on the lookout for some fun and unique brews for our grand opening and on a regular basis throughout the year (trust me, we've already got several brews in the works we're super excited about)!