My recent research brief discussed why “North Carolina Needs to Free Its Distilleries and Other Alcoholic Beverage Enterprises.” It’s not just that North Carolina has a bewildering maze of an Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) system. As the brief points out, the state has its own unique set of restrictions limiting its own homegrown alcohol businesses. For example:

  • Bars and taverns in North Carolina are forbidden from having “Happy Hours” and targeted drinks specials (such as “Ladies’ Nights”)
  • Distilleries in North Carolina have very limited ability to provide tastings
  • Distilleries here can’t hold for-profit events
  • Ciders and perries aren’t taxed like beers, but instead face a 62% higher tax rate
  • Distilleries can’t sell at fairs and farmers’ markets
  • Bars and taverns can’t hold special drink promotions (like two-for-one; buy-1/get-1-free; buy a meal, get a drink free; etc.)
  • Distilleries can’t sell drinks and bottles off-site
  • Distilleries can’t self-distribute
  • Liquor stores and distilleries can’t have package liquor sales on Sundays or holidays
  • Distilleries can’t even sell a bottle in-house unless the buyer has participated in a tour
  • On top of that, distilleries — unlike breweries and wineries — are closed for half the weekend (Sundays)

Read the brief to find out which of those restrictions could be changed by legislation currently before the General Assembly.