Much like everything with alcohol it’s complicated. The ABC (specifically North Carolina General Statute §18-B-303 & §18B-400) details the exact rules, amounts, and volume of alcohol you can transport without getting a permit.

I’ve divided alcohol into three categories: (1) beer, (2) unfortified wine, and (3) spirituous liquor & fortified wine. You do NOT need a permit to transport the following:


Maximum of 80 liters in cans or bottles

9 cases and 9 cans/bottles-355 milliliters

7 cases and 1 can/bottle-473 milliliters

Unlimited kegs

Unfortified Wine

(16% or less alcohol by volume)

Maximum of 50 liters

Ten 5 liter containers

Fifty 1 liter bottles

Sixty-six 750 milliliter bottles

Twenty-eight 1.75 liter bottles

Spirituous Liquor & Fortified Wine

(16-24% alcohol by volume)

Maximum of 8 liters

8 liters of only spirituous liquor or fortified wine

8 liters of a combination of spirituous liquor and fortified wine

*What happens if I want to purchase more than the stated amounts of unfortified wine, fortified wine, and spirituous liquor?

You need to get a Purchase Transportation Permit from you local ABC. This permit allows you to transport a maximum of 100 liters of unfortified wine and a maximum of 40 liters of either fortified wine or spirituous liquor or a combination of the two.

Am I a Bootlegger?

The answer may surprise you!

It’s quite possible that if you transport MORE than the law allows for alcohol then you may be a bootlegger. Bootlegging is the illegal business of transporting alcoholic beverages when the transportation is illegal (read the definition here). Interestingly enough bootlegging applies to smuggling over land; while rum-running applies to smuggling over water.

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





  1. Thanks for sharing this article with us! I’ve always been curious on how beverage distribution worked. I think it’s interesting that there’s maximum limits to how much you can transport at any given time. I think 80 liters is a lot of beer! I wonder how much they’re able to transport when they have a proper permit. Do you have any idea on those numbers?

    • Generally speaking, if they have the correct paperwork (i.e. approval from ABC), there’s no limit to how much can be transported at one time – except maybe the size of the truck! Cheers!

    • Unless it’s in a private residence for personal use, generally you cannot simply possess and drink alcohol anywhere you want. The general rule is that alcohol can only be consumed on licensed premises (those with a permit to do so). While you may transport alcohol in closed/sealed containers (within certain limits – i.e. there are laws about how much you can transport without a transportation permit) without fear. It’s where and when you can consume that’s the issue. You need to check with your golf course about whether or not they have an alcohol permit or whether they will allow you (or your alcohol) on the course.

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