Big Changes for Booze in NC

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Big Changes for Booze in NC

We’ve come a long way, Baby.

There are big changes on the horizon for NC Distilleries and I’m excited! Today, October 1st, NC distilleries can legally sell their product directly to the consumer. HB909 was signed by Governor McCrory on June 19, 2015. What a novel experience to be able to leave a North Carolina distillery after a tour with a bottle in hand, and not just directions to the closest ABC store. This is a monumental step forward for NC Craft Distilleries.

For the first time since 1909, commercial enterprises can legally sell a bottle of liquor in NC. North Carolina went dry long before 1920 when alcohol prohibition became law in the US. By the end of Prohibition in1933, there were more stills on NC soil than any other state in the US. Distilling is in the fabric of our history and our vibrant industry is revitalizing this craft today.

Oh Happy Day! Well, mostly.

There’s one stipulation. Maybe no one will notice. NC Distilleries can only sell 1 bottle/ per person/ per year. It is an Accounting Headache for the craft spirit makers. Distillers will need to keep up with names, dates and drivers license numbers of all purchasers with handy new software they will most likely need to rent or purchase. However demoralizing this limitation is, HB909 represents a seismic shift in the political attitude about NC distilling and supporting craft entrepreneurs. I believe that the ABC and the Legislature want to see NC Distillers succeed. 

Another cause for celebration on October 1st is the launch of the NC Distillery Passport Program. Thanks to the joint efforts of the NC Department. of Agriculture and Tourism, and  the Distillery Association of NC (DANC),  distillery aficionados will be able get a limited edition Passport, with 25 distilleries represented. A Passport mobile app should be rolling out this month, as well. This will encourage more people to get out there and visit all of these distilleries, each so different and wonderful in their own way.

It has been a very productive partnership between DANC and the NC Department of Agriculture and Tourism. The state agency quickly realized that the NC distilleries offer a significant potential economic boost to the state. Not only are they creating a new and different commodity to sell and export;  the distilleries are utilizing NC grown crops, therefore helping NC farmers .

I am very encouraged about the NC Distillery scene. We have some beautiful spirits coming out of this state and this is just the beginning. NC has real talent. Our food scene in this state (Asheville in particular) is top notch and rivals the best of the best, anywhere.

So, North Carolinians and visitors to our wonderful state: support these craft distillers. Make a point of visiting the distilleries, try their products, get to know your NC Distillers. I’m going to and it’s going to be fun! #DANCisDANK! #Buy1Oct1  #NCSpiritsTrail #GotToBeNC #NCDistillMyHeart

***Three years ago In 2013, DANC was formed by distillers working towards improving state laws to make it easier for Distillers to make and sell their products.