By Joe Johnson
North Carolina State Senator Deanna Ballard accepted the 2018 NC Beer Legislator of the Year Award given by the NC Craft Brewers’ Guild at Lost Province Brewing Co. located in Boone on Monday night. Sen. Ballard is the state senator from District 45 who received the award for her outstanding support regarding issues related to the craft brewing community in North Carolina. Each year, the NC Craft Brewers’ Guild works to recognize those who have helped the NC craft brewing industry the most with their legislative efforts. Sen. Deanna Ballard was chosen as the 2018 recipient of the Legislator of the Year Award due to her exceptional efforts dedicated to furthering the NC brewing industry’s success. Richard Green, Executive Director for the NC Craft Breweries Guild, explained the impact of Sen. Ballard’s legislative work.
“The support of our legislature and senate is critical for us being able to create a positive business environment here in North Carolina, which we have,” said Green.
When Senator Ballard was asked to comment on her work with the craft breweries, she stated “I’m happy to do what I can to advance the interests of our craft breweries. I think the district as a whole has close to 12 or 14 breweries now, but the industry itself has grown to well over 400 across the state. So, anything that I can do to really look at legislation that may be outdated or that may need to keep up with the pace of growth in this particular industry is something that I’ve been working on. I’ve been working with the Masons on specific things as well, but I’m just honored to be able to receive it!” The recipient of last year’s Legislator of the Year award, Senator Rick Gunn, presented this year’s award to Sen. Ballard, stating, “Senator Ballard gets it. She knows what it takes in the NC General Assembly, to run our economy, and to put good entrepreneurs and small businesses on the pathway to success. She gets it.” Senator Ballard proceeded to accept the 2018 NC Craft Brewers’ Guild Legislator of the Year Award with the following words “I’m eager to do what I can. The industry has generated close to a billion dollars in North Carolina’s economy this year… We have legislation that’s really kind of outdated and not keeping up with the pace of growth the industry has experienced. So, I’m excited to just dig in, roll up my sleeves, and figure out how we can remove those barriers and really make it a nice playing field for craft breweries to compete with the other small businesses out there.”