I grew up in Georgia, where they have free-market, private-enterprise liquor stores. Then I moved to Alabama, where they have dull, bureaucratic, Soviet-style, state-owned liquor stores. Then I moved to Virginia, where the stores were also bleak and reminiscent of state-owned stores in the old Soviet bloc.

And finally I moved to North Carolina, which employs the same style of state-owned liquor retailing found in Alabama, Virginia and former Communist countries. Soon, though, Virginia will adopt the Georgia model, which offers competition among liquor stores, resulting in better prices, more choice, and more store ambiance

This will leave North Carolina in the company of Alabama and Mississippi as the only Southern states with state-run liquor stores.