Our History Begins in 1933

The Establishment of the North Carolina ABC Commission

Following the repeal of national prohibition in 1933, the decision of where, how, and to whom spirituous liquor could be sold was top of mind for many state legislators. Under the 21st amendment to the US Constitution, states maintained the right to decide for themselves how to control the sale and purchase of alcoholic beverages. At the time, there were two prominent systems of control: state licensing systems and state monopoly systems. In 1935, the North Carolina Legislature authorized the Governor to appoint a commission tasked with weighing the costs and benefits of the two systems.

While about 2/3 of American states opted to enact a system that would license privately owned businesses to buy and sell alcohol, North Carolina adopted a system in which the state oversees the purchase and sale of liquor itself through Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Boards. The North Carolina ABC Commission was established to oversee the issuance of alcohol permits, develop liquor administrative codes, determine product selections and establish uniform prices throughout the state.

In North Carolina, ABC Boards bear a responsibility to distribute revenue back to the state, the counties they operate within, and local municipalities to assist in funding public goods. Beyond this, the revenue generated from liquor sales are also distributed to local alcohol education and treatment organizations, rehabilitation services, and other related non-profit organizations focusing on alcohol and substance abuse.