Liquor law change contemplated for DNC

A small change in the state's liquor laws would help stock bars and restaurants for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Posted Updated

Mark Binker
RALEIGH, N.C. — State lawmakers are contemplating a bill to ensure the Democratic National Convention doesn't run dry this September.

Under current state law, ABC stores across the state must be closed on Labor Day, the day before the DNC is officially due to start. ABC stores and warehouses are also closed on Sundays.

Government*-run liquor stores are the only source for distilled spirits like gin and vodka in North Carolina. 

That timing creates a bit of logistical headache for bars and restaurants. Thirsty crowds will be heading out to Labor Day festivities over the weekend and some of those coming in town for the DNC will arrive early for pre-meeting and events. 

Bars and restaurants could see their supplies running low without being able to restock until Tuesday, when they'll be handling a rush of convention business. 

"The restaurants are going to be selling an awful lot of liquor on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the Democrats coming into town," said Rep. Bill Brawley, R-Mecklenburg. 

Brawley is a cosponsor of H 1121, a bill that would allow ABC stores in Mecklenburg County remain open on Labor Day. The bill would only change the law for 2012 and wouldn't apply elsewhere in the state.

"Part of the way it was explained to me was that most restaurants would not have sufficient secure storage space to store enough liquor over the weekend," Brawley said.

The bill is sponsored by other Charlotte-area representatives and is expected to move with little controversy, Brawley said. 


*An earlier version of this post referred to "state-run" liquor stores. While the state ABC Commission regulates the ABC system and serves as a quasi-wholesaler, ABC stores themselves are run by independent units of local government. 

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