NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - North Carolina now has more breweries than any other state in the South according to the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild.
In 2011, there were just 59 craft breweries in the state of North Carolina, but the number now stands at closer to 300 in 2018.
Jeremy Tomlinson, President of the Cape Fear Beer Alliance, said a lot of the boom has to do with a change in state and local laws.
"Locally the Wilmington City Council has helped with the brewery designation and brewery zoning," he said. "We had one brewery here for a long time, Front Street Brewery. Then we started seeing other breweries opening up. Once those three or four breweries started opening up in 2014, then you have electricians and plumbers and lawyers, who are getting more experience in the brewing industry and that helps draw other breweries in."
The craft beer industry generates about $26 billion nationwide with many of those dollars coming back to North Carolina.
Tomlinson said it's more than just about money. He thinks it also gives the best possible product to the consumer.
"When you come in and buy from them your money stays a lot more local, than if you went to one of the bigger breweries outside of town," he said. "They are putting out a fresh product. Beer from the taproom is as fresh as you can possibly, and it is pretty good."