The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) System in North Carolina was designed to support public health & safety objectives through the control of spiritous liquor while providing valuable community investments to local governments. 

The ABC System oversees the sale and purchase of liquor, prevents the sale of alcoholic beverages to individuals under 21 years of age, issues alcohol permits, develops liquor administrative codes, determines product selections and establishes uniform prices throughout the state. For more information on the development of the ABC System, please view our history page.

ABC Boards are locally operated to achieve control, revenue, and service objectives in their areas.  To learn more about New Hanover County’s community investments, view our impact page.

Valid forms of identification for those 21 years of age and older include:  

  • A valid U.S. driver’s license 
  •  A valid North Carolina ID card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles 
  • A valid ID card issued by any state agency of any U.S. state authorized to issue official special identification cards
  •  A valid passport
  •  A valid U.S. Military ID

Expired forms of identification alone cannot be used to purchase alcohol.

Currently, ABC stores are prohibited from being open on Sundays. On Sundays, beer and wine sales at other establishments are prohibited prior to 12PM.

 View our store hours here.

Yes! Empty boxes are available free of charge. Surplus and odd-size boxes are collapsed and recycled.

According to NC DPS, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher OR if visibly impaired. The BAC limit is 0.04 while driving a commercial motor vehicle. For drivers under 21 years of age, North Carolina has zero tolerance for any BAC above 0.00.

The CDC has an informative FAQ that addresses a number of questions related to drinking patterns, the health effects of drinking, and alcohol use disorders.

Talk it Out NC is an organization dedicated to preventing underage drinking through open and honest conversations between youth and trusted adults.

If you think you may be struggling with addiction, visit our recovery resources page for low-barrier recovery options in New Hanover County.

It is not necessary to obtain an ABC permit if:

  •         Only beer and/or unfortified wine (16% alcohol or less) is being served at no charge to your guests over the age of 21
  •         The owner of the premises agrees to serve alcohol on their premises
  •         Admission to the event is free

If you do not meet these criteria, you will need to apply for one of the below:

Limited Special Occasion Permits are issued for individuals or groups hosting functions such as wedding receptions, or company parties that will be selling alcoholic beverages.

Special One-Time Permits are issued to tax-exempt non-profit or political organizations for fundraising events.

View information on how to apply for a limited special occasion permit or a special one-time permit here.

Retail Permits authorize the retail sale of alcoholic beverages. They are separated into two categories: on-premises and off-premises. Three separate permits exist for the on-premises or off-premises sale of beer, wine, or mixed beverages respectively.

On-premises permits allow the sale of alcoholic beverages to be consumed within the establishment they were sold in, such as a restaurant or a bar. Off-premises permits allow the sale of closed alcoholic products to be taken out of the establishment, such as a supermarket or convenience store, and consumed elsewhere.

View information on how to apply for a retail permit here.

Browse ALL permit types here.

For any questions related to our grants, refer to our FAQ for Grantseekers.