BREWPUBS TO BIG BUSINESS: Over the past decade, craft breweries have taken the state of North Carolina by storm, pulling in nearly 800 million dollars in 2014 alone. However, with bigger profit margins comes more scrutiny from state alcohol regulators and a stricter adherence to N.C. statutes. Photo by Gina Smith.

Growing pains: Craft brewing comes of age

North Carolina has always had a complicated relationship with alcohol. However, alcohol has consistently been an economic driver in North Carolina, as it still is, with 130 craft breweries as of 2014 – the most of any Southern state. As the craft brewing industry in the region grows into a multimillion-dollar business, the desire to review the statutes and improve communication with state officials has come to the forefront.

The Rebirth Brass Band brought a little of the Big Easy to Burning Can 2015 at Oskar Blues Brewery's REEB Ranch.

In photos: Oskar Blues Burning Can Festival 2015

Oskar Blues Brewery hosted its 2015 Burning Can ExtravaCANza Friday and Saturday, July 17-18, at its REEB Ranch just outside of Hendersonville. Despite some complications with the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Department, a few thunderstorms and a blistering-hot afternoon sun, brewers, performers and attendees stuck it out and had a ball.

Photo from Innovation Brewing's Facebook page.

Update: Petition against Bell’s Brewery collects 1,200 signatures in 15 hours

Innovation Brewing in Sylva reveals its legal fight over conflicting language with a much bigger company — Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The small Sylva brewer received nationwide support following the dispute, sparking both a petition and a GoFundMe page for the microbrewery’s legal fees. The petition has already reached 3,500 signatures.

In bed with the Brewers’ Alliance-attachment0

In bed with the Brewers’ Alliance

Pisgah’s here. Wedge is here — aloof rock stars of Asheville beer, confident and not entirely lacking in swagger. French Broad is the proletariat of the scene, big and gentle, unstylish, a touch shambling. Highland: the jetsetter, slick and self-assured. All is revelry, echolalic chatter drowning out the jazz trio.