North Carolina, along with 17 other states maintains a government monopoly on the sales of distilled alcohol. This means that private citizens buying at retail must go to a ABC store operated by one of 188 local boards with oversight from North Carolina state. In addition, ABC licensees such as bars and restaurants must purchase all their spirituous liquor from these government owned stores. Such a system stands in stark contrast to the way we buy nearly everything else. As you might imagine, this government monopoly of a consumer good is a relic of the temperance movement and prohibition era from the early 1900’s. In fact, before 2005 North Carolinians were not able to purchase beer above 6% ABV. Without this common sense change to the law, it would be easy to argue that the gains in tourism, culture and economy may never have happened in North Carolina. The same is true for the ABC system that is completely anti-consumer and no good for the people of North Carolina. The time has come to modernize the system and follow the other 32 states which have already done so -- including our neighbors, South Carolina. Visit a liquor store directly to our southern border and you will see private citizens owning, operating and working directly with distributors and producers. The results are a fantastic variety of goods, competition and a system that works for normal people. Here in North Carolina we have a list of products that are managed by the NC State ABC Commission -- yes, unelected bureaucrats deciding what you should be able to have. All local ABC boards then must order from the main warehouse in Raleigh what they want to stock. Further, these are government employees -- the hiring process does not prefer people who are passionate and inquisitive about spirits. In some cases local ABC boards actively try to discourage discovery and consumption. Simply go into most any North Carolina ABC store, talk to some of the employees and ask about availability and recommendations. Now do the same with your favorite bottle shop or wine specialist. The difference is clear. We, the people of North Carolina, can change this. We can create a new system for a new century.
- Encourage competition, allow stores to set their own prices
- Increase selection, let owners work directly with suppliers and producers
- Create a new class of specialty store, just like has been done with beer/wine
- Increase availability, we are currently restricted to locations that don't correlate with demand.
- Increase state revenue, help fund North Carolina. More sales, more revenue.
- Encourage innovation with a free market system
- Free restaurants and bars to get new and amazing product for patrons
- End a system where government officials dictate pricing and availability of a consumer good