ABC Omnibus Legislation – What HB 909 (now SL 2015-98) means for the North Carolina Beer, Wine, and Spirit industry.

Back in June, HB 909 was signed into law (Here, for full text). For most, summertime is a busy time of year, and you might not have had time to catch-up on the doings of the North Carolina Legislature. Not to fear, this post highlights some of the most important provisions from booze focused HB 909.

 

Powdered Alcohol

North Carolina has decided that powdered alcohol is completely illegal. The prohibition includes manufacturing, selling, importing, consuming, and even the possession of powered alcohol.

Tribal ABC Commission

 The new law authorizes the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to establish an independent tribal alcoholic beverage control commission to regulate the purchase, possession, consumption, sale, and delivery of alcoholic beverages within Indian Country. Additionally, the law allows the Tribal ABC to issue both commercial and retail ABC permits. The tribal ABC will have sole jurisdiction for all alcohol related matters within Indian Country, but will also recognize all permits granted by North Carolina ABC.

On Site Distillery Sales

North Carolinians, there is now an alternative to visiting you local ABC store for all your liquor needs… you can go on a distillery tour! Prior to this law, all liquor had to be purchased from an ABC store. Now, distilleries that produce less than 100,000 gallons of booze per year can sell one commemorative bottle per year to each customer visiting the distillery. Not surprisingly, the distillery must still collect and remit the 30% liquor tax.

Wine Growlers

If the establishment has the correct permits, you can now purchase a wine growler. No seriously… you can fill a growler up with wine and take it home.

Alternating Brewery Proprietorships

I am especially excited to say that this law clears the way for fledgling breweries to share space and equipment (but that’s it, not malts) with established breweries. This clarification of the old law makes way for projects like the Rocky Mount Brewmill, which is North Carolina’s first beer incubator.

Contact Brewing

Another friendly statue for start-up and growing breweries. This law clarifies that it is permissible for a brewery to receive beer that the receiving brewery contracted with another brewery to produce. After receiving the contracted for beer, the brewery may basically treat it as if it had been brewed right there in their own brewery.

Thoughts

With the exception of the prohibition on powdered alcohol, HB 909 is overall favorable for the beer and wine industry. Clarifications in alternating brewery proprietorship and contract brewing laws, not only make it easier for start-up breweries to share resources with bigger more established breweries, but it also gives established breweries the flexibility to coordinate efforts with other breweries to increase production and satisfy demand. While it is extremely difficult to foresee all the economic consequences of this legislation, this new law certainty makes it easier for newcomers to join North Carolina’s booming craft beer industry.