North Carolina, once a craft beer wasteland, has become one of the country's most exciting states for good brews. Dozens of innovative breweries have popped up from the coast to Asheville, complementing a solid roster of fine brewers.
The growth began in 2005, when N.C. legislators passed a law allowing for higher content alcohol in beer sold here. Now, lawmakers have passed a smaller but important bill that allows breweries, regardless of size, to offer tastings and sell beer on site - even beers produced outside the state.
The measure would help North Carolina's craft brewing industry flourish even more, not only by promoting interest in craft beer, but also by giving brewers another revenue stream. The change also could prompt larger west coast brewers to open east coast operations and bring jobs here.