The information for this blog is found on Brewer Advisory: Legislature Passes ABC Omnibus Legislation by Laura Collier and posted by the NC Craft Brewers Guild. Laura Collier is the legal advisor for the NC Guild, and her contact information is below.
Senate Bill 155 and House Bill 500
Two important bills were passed in North Carolina: Senate Bill 155 (“SB 155”) and House Bill 500. SB155 is ubiquitously known as the “Brunch Bill” or otherwise known as drinking-alcohol-as-early-as-10am-on-Sundays bill. But, what exactly does this bill include and why should you, the brewer, be in the know about this?
These FAQs and/or portions of the answers can also be read on Laura Collier’s Brewer Advisory article.
Pre-SB155 if a brewery wanted to serve unfortified wine, fortified wine, or spirituous liquors then you would have to serve food (and submit a menu to the NC ABC). Not anymore. Now, a brewery that wants to sell unfortified wine can do so without selling food. SB155 removed the food requirement for unfortified wine by allowing an establishment (i.e. a brewery) to obtain an unfortified wine on-premise permit without selling any food. You still have to submit an unfortified wine on-premise permit and pay $400 to the ABC, but without the hassle of worrying about a menu and food.
Q: My brewery doesn’t sell any food. Once this bill is signed, can my brewery taproom sell wine?
A: Kind of. You still need to apply for an unfortified wine on-premise permit. SB155 does not eliminate the need for this permit. And, this applies to only unfortified wine, which is different from fortified wine.
Also, it appears that the NC ABC is interpreting the law to apply to any retail permit holder. So, you do not need to a brewery to take advantage of this change.
Q: My brewery sells wine for on-premises consumption, and we currently sell food, but we’d rather not. Can we stop selling food?
A: Yes and no. A brewery that sells wine for on-premise consumption can reduce or eliminate its food menu. However, if your brewery sells fortified wine and/or mixed beverages for on-premise consumption, you need to still sell food.
What does the “Brunch Bill” mean for my brewery? The “Brunch Bill” now authorizes local governments to approve the sale of alcohol as early as 10 a.m. on Sundays.
Q: When can my brewery start early Sunday sales?
A: We cannot stress this enough: This is not automatic. You still need to check to see if your local government passes an ordinance allowing for early Sunday sales. IF your local government has approved SB155 for early sales then you can begin selling alcohol at 10 a.m.
If your local government has NOT approved SB155 then you must serve alcohol at 12 p.m. noon.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-335-5291.
Contact the NC ABC Commission
400 East Tryon Road
Raleigh, NC 27610