Part 3 of our Festival blog series. Check out Part 1 and Part 2

Are you compliant?

Hopefully, yes. If not, hopefully these rules can help you.

We’ve (mostly the ABC) have broken down compliance issues into four parts: pre-festival/event, staffing at the festival/event, quality control testing, and festival/event attire.

This blog focuses on pre-festival/event compliance and the issue of staffing.


Before you participate in a festival/event, the NC ABC is concerned about two requirements that must be fulfilled prior to the festival/event.

  1. Fill out and submit the Distribution Agreement Filing Form with the NC ABC. This form should cover the county where the festival/event is held.
  2. All products sold, donated, or served have to be approved by the NC ABC. Participating breweries need to fill out and submit the Label/Product Approval Form.

What if you are an out-of-state brewery?

If you are a brewery that is located out-of-state (i.e. NC), then you must familiarize yourself with these permits.

  1. To participate in a NC event you need a Nonresident Malt Beverage Vendor Permit.
  2. If the beer sales at the festival/event are conducted by each participating brewery OR if the beer sales are conducted by both a nonprofit organization and a participating brewery, then you need a Malt Beverage Special Event Permit.
  3. Out-of-state breweries need to comply with the NC ABC-that means filing out and submitting a Distribution Agreement Filing Form, Label/Product Approval Form, and using a wholesaler.


Staffing at festivals/events is often overlooked because of the hustle and bustle of actually working behind your booth and serving the public. There are two important rules to keep in mind.

  1. For a brewery participating with a Special One-Time Permit, the staffing can include
    1. Nonprofit volunteer server-the person who serves the beer. This person is a volunteer, but can also be an employee of the brewery. This person CANNOT drink alcoholic beverages before or while working the event under any circumstances, including for quality control purposes.
    2. Brewery representative-a person who represents the brewery and can attend the event to market the brewery. This person CANNOT serve beer because they are not a volunteer for the nonprofit organization.
  2. For a brewery participating with a Malt Beverage Special Event Permit, the staffing
    1. are employees of the brewery who can work at the booth, serve beer, and represent the brewery.

The information for this blog post can be found on the NC ABC website and the Beer Festival Guidelines.

Contact us!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me at or call 919-335-5291.

Be sure to check out Beer Law Center and Matheson Law Office for all things NC legal.

Contact the NC ABC Commission

400 East Tryon Road

Raleigh, NC 27610