This morning the North Carolina Senate Committee on Commerce and Insurance will hear a bill that would expand some freedoms for the otherwise shackled, state-run, and happy hour-less, liquor industry.

Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Henderson, first introduced the ABC Omnibus bill, House Bill 890, in May of this year.

This bill would, among other changes:

  • Extend hours of operation for distilleries. It would allow distilleries to hold hours similar to breweries and wineries. Under current law, distilleries may only be open when ABC stores are open.  ABC stores have limited hours and are closed on Sundays and some holidays.  Distilleries would be able to sell liquor to visitors from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and from noon until 9 p.m. on Sundays.  Holidays would be treated according to the day of the week they occur.
  • Allow online orders from ABC Stores. North Carolinians would be able to order liquor online and pick up their order at the local ABC store. This would save consumers time likely spent waiting in line.
  • Change the Growler Rule. The sale of growlers up to four liters (current law’s maximum growler volume is two liters) would be allowed for off-premises consumption.
  • Establish a Liquor Council. Similar to the North Carolina Grape and Wine Council, the North Carolina Spirituous Liquor Advisory Council would be created to improve North Carolina’s liquor industry. Members would have to include a representative from the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, the ABC Commission, and the North Carolina Association of ABC Boards.
  • Allow permits for free tastings of liquor at festivals, farmers markets, fund-raisers, and more. Mixed drinks would also be allowed to be sold at such events. Liquor may be sold in closed containers and must be limited to 50 milliliters per customer.
  • Permit sale of two alcoholic beverages per person at a college sporting event. Current law allows customers to only purchase one drink at a time.  Alcohol sales at any North Carolina sporting event is a relatively new prerogative.  House Bill 389, the bill authorizing alcohol sales at stadiums, was signed into law in June of 2019.