Christian Action League
June 22, 2014
In the last days of the Short Session of the NCGA, there are a number of alcohol measures that could move toward passage, none of which would be good for our state. But there is one that is especially egregious that would have a negative impact on North Carolina’s system for controlling and regulating the sale of spirituous liquor by our ABC stores.
The measure is HB 842 – Study of Spirituous Liquor Sales-Distillery. The bill was written to study the impact of allowing distilleries in the state to sell their products after patrons have participated in a tour of their establishments. But a high powered and influential lobbyist from the industry is pushing lawmakers to drop the idea of a study and simply allow distilleries to start selling their products onsite after patrons complete one of their tours.
I need for you to contact your State Senator and register your opposition to this proposal right away.
The proposal may sound reasonable to some, but it would undermine our current system of alcohol control for the following reasons:
- All spirituous liquor products are sold in North Carolina’s ABC stores. But allowing distilleries to sell their products outside ABC stores sets a dangerous precedent. If this legislation passes, it would be like a chip in the windshield of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s regulation of spirituous liquor sales. The chip in the windshield may be ever so small, but the flaw eventually undermines the stability of the entire windshield. Authorization for the sale of spiritous liquor outside of community ABC stores will undoubtedly spread and result in additional sales of liquor outside the strict confines of ABC stores.
- Selling spirituous liquor outside of ABC stores would undermine local option alcohol referenda. The sale of spirituous liquor is authorized in our state via the ballot box during alcohol referendums. No North Carolina community anywhere in our state has ever approved the sale of liquor by a distillery, but only through our state’s ABC stores. To allow distilleries to sell their products on site circumvents the vote of the people in local option alcohol elections.
- Selling spirituous liquor outside of ABC stores undermines “control.” Distilleries across the Tar Heel state are not experienced with retail sales of alcoholic beverages. Moreover, North Carolinians have traditionally held that liquor products are potentially more problematic than beer and wine. Therefore, spirituous liquor sales are confined to our ABC stores. This form of “regulation and control” avoids any promotion of liquor sales, encourages temperance, and best protects the public’s health against abuses of liquor.
- Selling spirituous liquor outside of ABC stores is a circumvention of our State’s 3 Tier System of alcohol control. Our state’s 3 Tier System (Manufacturer, Distributor, and Retailer) creates an exception to this long-standing means of checks and balances – something that seeks to protect the public from the many abuses of alcohol sales that existed before prohibition. Sales by a distillery allow for the direct sale of spirituous liquor from the manufacturer to the customer.
Take Christian Action:
This bill currently resides in the Senate Rules Committee, but it could move soon. It could move either to another committee for consideration or it might be taken-up in the committee where it resides.
Nevertheless, your Senator needs to hear from you immediately that you oppose this legislation for the way it could hurt North Carolina’s system of alcohol control.
Please respond now!
Watch your email closely for additional Urgent Christian Action Alerts. More responses from you about other critical legislative matters may be necessary in the next few days
Dr. Mark Creech
Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.
Here’s how to contact your NC Senator:
Go to the “Who Represents Me” page of the NC General Assembly website;
Type in your address in the “Find address or place” search field at the top of the NC Senate Map;
Click on the district in which your address is located, and then click “Open Member Page;”
Call the phone number nearest the top of your Senator’s contact information (directly underneath their legislative office address). If you don’t get to speak directly to your Senator, speak with his/her Legislative Assistant. Be sure to tell either your Senator or his/her Legislative Assistant that you are a constituent, giving your name, place of residence, and phone number.
If you don’t call, send your NC Senator an email. You can find their email address just below their phone number.