by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
In a recent research brief I highlighted examples of laws governing North Carolina distilleries that are highly restrictive and arbitrary. I compared them with what other states allow. As I wrote about the examples:
This isn’t simply an intellectual exercise. Reforming North Carolina’s alcohol rules isn’t just about making the big decision about moving on from government control under an unnecessarily complicated ABC control system.
It’s also about modernizing here and there, making practical fixes in individual areas of law.
Carolina Journal discussed legislation that would address some of the issues I highlighted. John Trump writes:
In the Senate, lawmakers filed Senate Bill 290 on Monday, March 18. A companion bill, House Bill 378, came Tuesday morning.
The measures would allow N.C. distilleries to sell malt beverages and unfortified and fortified wine, as well as to sell mixed beverages. The moves would allow distilleries to sell spirits directly to consumers and would allow liquor tastings at state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission stores.
Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, and Sen. Rick Gunn, R-Alamance, have long been proponents of reforming the antiquated system and are among the sponsors of the most recent bills.
The latest measures would, maybe most important, allow distillers to, much like ABC stores, sell to consumers without the current five-bottle restriction, according to state and local laws. Under the new rules, distilleries could issue purchase-transportation permits for spirits. Those permits now must be approved by ABC officials.