The Story Stronger beer on its way to N.C. Area brewers to start shipping soon ASHEVILLE — A wide variety of “big” brews will be in North Carolina within days after Gov. Mike Easley gave is final OK to legislation allowing beers with up to 15 percent alcohol content to be sold in the state. With a stroke of his pen Saturday, Easley swept away the old 6 percent limit on beer strength. The General Assembly had already approved the change, raising maximum beer strength from 6 percent to 15 percent alcohol. “It’s done,” said Julie Bradford, who helped lead a statewide grass-roots campaign called Pop the Cap, which pushed for the change. “I wasn’t going to celebrate until it was definite.” Local brewers in Asheville have been gearing up: Higher-alcohol beers are being made by Highland Brewing and Green Man Brewing of Asheville and Pisgah Brewing of Black Mountain. But these new beers won’t be cheap: Wine-sized bottles could sell for $10 to $12 or more. On Monday, area beer distributors were busy lining up shipments of draft and bottled brews into the state. “We are looking at having product by the end of the week or by the first of next week,” said Dave Kemper, on-premise director of Empire Distributing of North Carolina, which will carry beers by Ommegang (a famed Belgian-style brewer in Cooperstown, N.Y.), as well as well as the Belgian brews Duvel and Rodenbach. Meanwhile, Skyland Distributing of Asheville will offer stronger products from Rogue, “which will be shipped at the end of this week, or as soon as the state approves the labels,” said Gerry Sigmon. His company will also carry “big” beers from Bridgeport Brewing Co. of Portland, Ore., and Terrapin Brewing of Athens, Ga., and others. Until the change, North Carolina had been one of only six states limiting beer to 6 percent alcohol or less. About 2 1/2 years ago, a group of passionate beer drinkers organized Pop the Cap, began raising money and hired a lobbyist to push for the change. Some lawmakers opposed raising beer strength, citing fears of underage drinking or increased alcohol-related accidents. Among those against the change was the Christian Action League, whose executive director, the Rev. Mark Creech, said lawmakers had given “little regard to the public’s health.” But Pop the Cap supporters said the change was about choice. And that since higher-alcohol beers would be more costly and have stronger unusual flavors, they would not be the choice of teens or alcohol abusers. The Question What is the legal % of alchol where you live. I believe that it is 6% here.