Public Service Announcement: You Can’t Load Up on Booze on New Year’s Eve, Because North Carolina’s Liquor Laws Are Dumb | Food

Public Service Announcement: You Can’t Load Up on Booze on New Year’s Eve, Because North Carolina’s Liquor Laws Are Dumb

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Hosting a New Year’s Eve party this year? If you plan on serving cocktails, plan ahead.

January 1 falls on a Monday, which means New Year’s Eve takes place on Sunday—and under an anachronistic state law passed in 1981, “No ABC store shall be open, and no ABC store employee shall sell alcoholic beverages, on any Sunday, New Year's Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, or Christmas Day.”

You will, however, be able to purchase champagne (as well as other beer and wine) from retailers starting at noon on Sunday, which makes North Carolina’s laws less asinine than those in, say, Indiana.

Still, as we’ve argued before, North Carolina’s labyrinth of alcohol laws could use some updates—and not just the one that allows you to order a Bloody Mary at your Sunday brunch. (See also: no happy hours.) The Tar Heel state is one of seventeen that use a control system for liquor sales, meaning the state rather than private retailers sells directly to the public; those ABC stores have been in place since 1935, two years after the end of Prohibition, an innovation at the time that should have run its course decades ago. (With state stores, not only is there no competition but you also can’t special order a bottle of your favorite brand of bourbon; you’ll have to shell out for a whole case.) And while the state Popped the Cap back in 2005, you still can’t purchase beer that exceeds 15 percent ABV, which sucks.

There was an effort to change the Sunday ABC law back in 2009, but it didn’t go anywhere. As a pastor explained to a Wilmington TV station, “I’m concerned what it would do to families and the community. When certain people start buying away on Sundays, it could send a message to the rest of the community that I don't think we want to see.”

I have no idea what that means.

Anyway, buy your New Year’s Eve booze tomorrow, or you’ll be shit out of luck.


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