The North Carolina State Fair opens today, and for the first time in its 150-year history, will no longer be the last holdout against alcohol sales.
State Fair Spokesman Brian Long says beer and wine are an important part of the state's agricultural portfolio. The economic impact of the state’s wine and grape industry is now approaching $2 billion and the craft beer industry's impact is estimated at $1.2 billion, he said.
“We also acknowledge that we have some very good wineries and some very good breweries that are producing some very good products,” he said.
Long says the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild lobbied hard to allow sales in the new Public House on the fairgrounds. Visitors over 21 can buy a single ticket for a flight of beer or wine samples to drink within the Pub.
“We think that with it being in a designated place on the grounds and with the limit of one ticket per person that that will helps us to showcase beer and wine without people becoming intoxicated,” Long said.