Summary of HB 890 (ABC Omnibus Legislation)

HB 890 (ABC Omnibus Legislation) was signed into law by the Governor on September 10, 2021.

This Summary is prepared for ABC Boards and addresses the provisions in the bill that affect ABC Boards.   This three page Summary is in order of the 28 pages of the bill. 

Section 1 – Allows an ABC store to accept an order and payment for that order online but does not require the ABC store to do so.  Only natural persons may make online orders.   The same person that places the order must pick up the order.  Effective October 1, 2021.

Section 2.1 – Allows personalized labeling on liquor bottles, including the name of an ABC board or ABC store.

Section 5.1 – Establishes a new Spirituous Liquor Advisory Council to be appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture. Appointees must have experience in either liquor industry or tourism.  The Council is required to have one member as a representative of the NC Association of ABC Boards, one member as a representative of the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association, and one member as a representative of the ABC Commission.   The primary purpose of the Council is to promote NC’s liquor industry.

Section 6.1 – Allows NC distilleries to sell liquor in closed containers to visitors who tour the facility at times and days that are different from the sale of liquor by ABC stores.  Distilleries can now sell their product between 9 am and 9 pm Monday – Saturday, from noon to 9 pm on Sundays, and from 9 am to 9 pm on the following holidays that do not fall on a Sunday: New Year's Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving Day.

Section 6.2 –

-  Allows supplier representative, brokerage representatives and distillery permittees, in addition to nonresident spirituous liquor vendor permitees (out of state distillers, or brokerages or importers/bottlers) to obtain a liquor special event permit to:

- Hold tastings at farmers markets

- Sell mixed beverages at trade shows, conventions, agricultural festivals, farmers markets, local fundraisers and other similar events approved by the Commission, subject to numerous conditions

- Provide without charge one free mini-bottle per customer per calendar day per distillery trade shows, conventions, agricultural festivals, farmers markets, local fundraisers and other similar events approved by the Commission, subject to numerous conditions

-  For permits issued for liquor tastings at ABC stores, the permit shall be issued in the name of the distillery or, if issued to a supplier representative, brokerage representative, or nonresident spirituous liquor vendor, in the name of the nonresident spirituous liquor vendor or the name of the business the supplier representative or brokerage representative represents.

Section 8.1 – Maintains the requirement of a tour for a distillery that sells it own product at the distillery but provides the length, content and other parameters of the tour are at the discretion of the distillery.

Section 10.1 – Allows a driver’s license or special identification card issued by the agencies of other states to be an acceptable form of identification for alcohol purchases. Effective December 1, 2021.

Section 13.1 – Amends the mixed beverage elections provisions to require the question of whether or not to permit such sales to also include sales of on-premises and off-premises sales of malt beverage and unfortified wine.

Section 15.1 – Allows ABC stores to sell liquor in a refrigerated unit.  Effective October 1, 2021.

Part XX – Allows local governments to adopt ordinances that permit “social districts.”  This would permit the permittees in the district to sell alcohol to patrons who can then possess and consume alcohol in the social district, without being confined to the licensed premises of the permittee.

Part XXI – Allows local governments to adopt ordinances to allow permittees to utilize an area that is not part of the permittee’s licensed premises for the outdoor possession and consumption of alcohol sold by the permittee.

Section 23.1 – Allows the trade or exchange of liquor upon certain conditions, including: the transaction only involves the trade or exchange of lawfully purchased spirituous liquor for other lawfully purchased spirituous liquor; and the trade or exchange is only between individuals, for personal use only, and not for resale.

Section 24.1 -- Effective January 1, 2022, requires all of the following:

- The Commission shall make a good-faith effort, without discrimination, to make all spirituous liquor distributed by the Commission available to all local board, shall adopt rules regarding the ordering of spirituous liquor by local boards and may suspend distribution to a local board of any limited product for rule violations.

-  Any warehouse contractor (like LB & B) shall not directly or indirectly provide information to a local board which gives any advantage to one board over another board concerning product selection, availability, or otherwise obtaining spirituous liquor distributed by the Commission.

-  For limited products, requires the Commission to maintain records of all products that the Commission either (i) limits distribution of due to limited availability or (ii) allocates the distribution of to local boards, and to update those records monthly and to make the records available to ABC boards; the records must include, among other things, the name of each local board that received the product, the date each local board received the product, and the quantity each local board received.

Section 27.1  -- Regulates alcohol consumables that contain more than 0.5% alcohol.  If the consumable contains liquor, the consumable shall only be sold in an ABC store, but ABC Boards are not required to carry these products (see section 15.1 permitting ABC stores to sell liquor in a refrigeration unit); the products must first be listed by the ABC Commission.

Section 28.1 - Allows a common carrier operating under authority of the NC Utilities Commission to obtain a permit sell alcohol, including mixed beverages, for journeys of 75 miles or longer and that do not terminate within 10 miles of the origin of the journey.

Section 30.1 – Effective July 1, 2022, requires an ABC board to offer delivery service to mixed beverage permittees by using its employees or contracting with one or more independent contractors, and authorizes an ABC board to charge a fee to the permittee. A local board in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 county, as defined in G.S. 143B-472.35(a2)(18), may request an exemption to this requirement from the ABC Commission and the Commission shall grant the request if the local board can show evidence of unreasonable hardship or difficulty incurred by implementing delivery service.

Prepared by Jon Carr, attorney/lobbyist, NC Association of ABC Boards

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