ABC 'shoots' down Kings Mountain brewery's new product

ABC 'shoots' down Kings Mountain brewery's new product


by STUART WATSON / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @stuartwcnc

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Updated Sunday, Oct 27 at 6:28 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission has stopped a Kings Mountain brewery from selling a flavored malt beverage "shooter" for fear it would encourage underage drinking.

The drink, called "Stout 21," contained 15-percent alcohol and was packaged in 3-ounce tubes in flavors such as screwdriver and margarita.

The brewer, Stout Brewing Company, received tax incentives from Cleveland County to provide jobs.

The Mayor of Kings Mountain, Rick Murphrey, traveled to Raleigh to personally appeal to the three-member alcoholic beverage commission calling Stout a good corporate citizen.

But ABC executive Mike Herring told commissioners that the ABC had turned down a series of similar "shooters" with names such as "Tooters," "Suck and Blow," and "Big Shots."

Stout founder and CEO Cody Sommer told commissioners that the 3-ounce container size and $2 price point would discourage underage drinkers.

But Herring said the relatively high alcohol content coupled with the flavoring and small size of the test-tube like packaging would appeal primarily to teenage girls.

Retired Superior Court Judge Ron Vogel called Stout 21 a "predatory product."

And Wanda Boone of Durham TRY, a group that discourages teen drinking,  said the small tube would be easy for teens to slip in their pockets to take to school.

New ABC Chairman Jim Gardner told Stout Brewers he sympathized with the need for jobs but sided with those who deter underage drinking, saying it was a "hard call."

Stout has hired lawyers from the Parker Poe Firm who spent the better part of an hour making their case with a PowerPoint presentation.

The lawyers showed how the state approved other malt beverages such as Old English 800 which has more alcohol in 40-ounces than a six-pack of Bud Light beer.

In the end the commission was not persuaded.

But lawyers for the brewers can appeal to an administrative law judge and on to the courts.

Although, other similar products have been successfully banned.