Five Things You Need To Know About A Retail Liquor License Application In North Carolina

The authorities in North Carolina impose strict controls on all types of liquor licensing, and if you want to sell alcoholic beverages in your store, you need to closely follow the application process. The authorities have now granted around 50,000 retail commercial permits in North Carolina, but it isn't always easy to add your business to the list. Learn more about the process with the five following crucial liquor licensing facts.

Permits vary for different types of liquor

The rules about liquor licensing vary in different parts of North Carolina, and you cannot assume that a license allows you to sell any type of liquor. Each county in North Carolina can vary the rules about liquor licenses according to the type of beverage you plan to sell. For example, your license may allow you to sell malt beverages and unfortified wine, but you may not have permission to sell fortified wine and mixed beverages.

You can find the details of what the rules allow on the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission's website. Each legal entity within a county may also operate different rules, so it's important to check out what you can sell before you apply for your license.

Your reputation and criminal record could halt your application

North Carolina has strict laws about underage drinking, and you have to be at least 21 to buy or drink these beverages. Given the issues that underage drinking can cause, North Carolina also operates a no exceptions policy for this offense, which is a stricter rule than some other parts of the United States. This stricter stance is also reflected in the ABC Commission's rules about reputation for liquor license holders.

The Commission will review every applicant's reputation, character and criminal record. Any felony conviction within three years or any alcoholic beverage conviction within two years of the application would mean you could not gain a license. What's more, the Commission will consider any other evidence that would show you may not comply with the law, so you need to think carefully about any matters that the Commission may decide are relevant. For example, an arrest for a DUI charge could count against you, even if the matter has not yet concluded.

You generally need to be a resident of North Carolina

To get a retail liquor license in North Carolina, the authorities will normally need to see evidence that you are a state resident. Out-of-state corporations can hold permits in North Carolina, but the on-site manager of the store must have state residency. Alternatively, a North Carolina resident with power of attorney can also apply for the permit.

The location of your store is important

The ABC Commission must decide whether your retail store is in the right place for the permit you want to hold. The Commission will consider various factors. These include:

  • Proximity to a church or school. You won't get a permit if your store is within 50 feet of buildings like this.

  • The number of permits that other businesses in the area hold. The Commission will not approve a permit for a retail store in a suburb where lots of other shops already hold a liquor license.

  • Zoning laws. These rules may restrict building use within your area.

It's always a good idea to check out the local area before you apply for a permit.

You will normally need to renew your permit

The Commission normally only grants a permit for one year, and the permit period runs from May 1 to April 30. Temporary permits have a shorter, defined duration, and permits for certain beverages are indefinite. Crucially, if the shop owner changes, you can't transfer the permit, and the new owner must apply for his or her own permit. The Commission does not allow prorated permits, either.

The ABC Commission places strict controls on the issue of liquor licenses in North Carolina. If you need a license for your retail store, contact an experienced attorney to help you manage the process effectively.

For more information, contact a company like Arizona Liquor Industry Consultants.