Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill that modifies the current alcohol laws in North Carolina on Sept. 10, including allowing online orders at ABC stores and the purchase of a second alcoholic beverage at college sporting events.
House Bill 890 grants patrons the ability to place online orders at ABC stores beginning Oct. 1. A requirement for picking up online orders is the order must be picked up by the person who made the order. Customers will be provided an identifier number to present along with their identification when picking up orders.
UNC senior Kiana Burns is excited about this change, saying she believes online orders will be helpful for increasing sales at local ABC stores.
"I always end up running to the ABC store too late, so I never make it to get my order in," Burns said. "Also, you won’t have to do that awkward search, especially since senior year is when everyone turns 21, so they don’t know how to approach an ABC store.”
UNC senior Kwame Amankwah believes this change will make ABC stores more accessible, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is especially easier for people who may be immunocompromised,” Amankwah said.
H.B. 890 will also allow spectators at college or university athletic events or facilities throughout the state to purchase up to two alcoholic beverages at a time during events. This change became effective once the bill was signed into law.
"There are definitely going to be more drunk people at (football games)," Burns said.
Amankwah does not believe the bill will have much impact on sales.
“I don’t know how many people it will affect," Amankwah said. "A lot of people really don’t buy drinks at sporting events because they are super overpriced."
Other changes to the alcohol laws include, but are not limited to, revisions to winery and distillery laws, the ability of ABC stores to sell refrigerated beverages, and an order that the town of Cary will no longer be required to issue its own liquor licenses.
The bill also establishes the North Carolina Spirituous Liquor Advisory Council. The council will be in charge of helping grow and develop the liquor industry in the state.
Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Henderson, was one of the sponsors of H.B. 890. He said he believes the purpose of this bill is to modernize and assist the distillery industry.
“The general purpose of the bill is to modernize a very antiquated alcoholic beverage control system," Moffitt said. "While at the same time, we are recognizing our homegrown distilleries are probably the fastest growing agribusiness in our state. We are striving to put them on a reasonably equal footing to the beer and wine industry."
There are many implications to this new law, and Moffitt believes they are all positive.
He added that the bill was created in response to ongoing pressure to modernize the process of purchasing alcohol from ABC stores as a result of technological advancement. The bill covers a variety of topics related to the sale and consumption of alcohol as well as the distillery industry itself.
“We recognize that the folks in our state are largely responsible citizens," Moffitt said. "This bill is about free market and individual liberty."