Frequently Asked Permit and Audit Questions

Retail Permitting

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All fees collected from the ABC permit system are deposited with the State Treasurer.

Legal alcohol sales (to include mixed beverage sales, ABC stores, and beer and wine sales) are determined at the county and town level by local elections.

Click here to view legal sales by county/towns

A retail permit is issued to a person or persons or to an entity at a specific location allowing for the sale of alcoholic beverages.

The ABC Commission issues permits for all alcoholic beverages in North Carolina. A license is issued by the county/city/town in which a business is located, after your receive the ABC permit.

The cost of the permit is listed on the application form. Payment must be in the form of a certified check, cash, a cashier’s check or money order and are to be made payable to the North Carolina ABC Commission. Personal checks from individuals, businesses, or corporations are not accepted.

Click here for more information about retail permit types

No. ABC permits cannot be prorated. For example, if you should apply in September or any other month during the year from the period May 1 through April 30, the fees for the permit remain the same, no proration will be allowed.

Fingerprint cards must be completed by a local law enforcement agency.

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Determine the type(s) of permits you need, then download and complete the required application.

Click here to download the required applications.

No. No provisions are made for refunds whether the application was approved, rejected or withdrawn.

Fingerprint cards are a requirement when applying for retail permit.

Yes. Individuals with prior felony convictions or revocation of an ABC permit within three (3) years of a new application will result in automatic disqualification. Misdemeanors involving drugs or alcohol within two (2) years will also result in disqualification.

Not usually. However, each record is reviewed by the ABC Commission staff before a permanent ABC permit is issued.

Yes. An application for permit can be delayed for incomplete information; local government objection to the application or to the applicant(s); or for lack of cooperation by the applicant(s) with the Commission and with the Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) agents.

By completing an application and submitting any additional documents required for the type of permit being requested, along with the required application fee(s). The original applicant(s) or corporate site manager must complete the application.

Monies not received for renewable permits by the deadline date of April 30 are cancelled. A new application will need to be completed and submitted to the ABC Commission. The new application fee, stated on the application, will be applicable.

The permit holder is responsible for keeping the business mailing address updated and renewing the permit. Failure to receive a notice is not justification for being allowed to retain the permit beyond April 30.

It is very important that you notify us prior to a change in ownership or relocation of the business. A new application packet will need to be re-filed and new permits issued under the new ownership at the new location in order for you to conduct business. The ABC permit issued to the old establishment automatically expires, and must be immediately turned in to the Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) or to the ABC Commission for cancellation.

All applicants must include a copy of a deed, lease or rental agreement showing the applicant, whether you are an individual, corporation, or LLC, etc., is in lawful ownership or possession of the premises. This document must include the address of the location or a property description and the date the deed, lease or rental agreement commenced.

Yes. However, a Certificate of Authority must be issued by the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office along with an application by a North Carolina resident acting as the on-site manager for the location or a North Carolina resident authorized by power of attorney.

An establishment holding mixed beverage, brown bagging or special occasion permits must have an employee who is at least 21 years of age in charge of the licensed premises at all times. Bartenders must be 21 years of age to mix drinks containing spirits. Waiters and waitresses in on-premise establishments who serve or sell alcoholic beverages must be 18 years of age. Minors 16 and 17 years of age may be employed if they do not prepare, sell, serve or deliver alcoholic beverages at on-premise establishments. Malt beverage, fortified and unfortified wine permittees shall have an employee who is 18 years of age in charge. Minors may work at off-premise establishments (beer and/or wine) in any capacity, subject to the rules set by the North Carolina Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division.

Commercial Permits

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A commercial permit is a license issued to an individual or company at a specific location allowing for the manufacture, importation, bottling, distribution, transportation or representation of alcoholic beverages.

Click here to see the types of commercial permits that are available

For in-state permits the application investigation takes approximately six weeks. You will be contacted by a NC ABC Compliance Officer completing your investigation in order to schedule a time for them to meet with you. If all required documents are submitted with the permit applications, a temporary permit can be obtained the same day in which it is received. For out of state permits and non-resident vendor permits, the application process takes approximately two weeks. Temporary permits are not normally issued.

ABC permits are valid until you have a change in ownership or move to a new location, at which time your permits expire immediately. It is very important that you refile new applications prior to relocating your business or as soon as possible after a change in ownership occurs so that you will have no lapse in business operations. You do not have to pay any yearly fees for commercial permits, but new applications and fees are required for changes in ownership and/or location.

N.C.GS 18B-1101(7) may obtain a wine wholesaler permit. All required documents and the appropriate fees must be submitted with the wholesale permit application(s), and exemption request letter.

Vendor Representative – This person represents a NC winery, NC brewery, NC importer or, a nonresident vendor. This person is allowed to visit North Carolina calling on wholesale businesses, driving and delivering products to NC wholesalers. This person does not have to be a NC resident. Wholesale Salesmen – This person represents a North Carolina Wholesale business, delivering products to and calling upon N.C. retailers. This person must be a resident of NC or if not, must name a NC resident as attorney-in-fact through a Power of Attorney. The Power of Attorney must be registered with the Register of Deeds office in the county in which the business is located.

No. The permit fee is per company. If the permit fee is $300.00 and the business is a partnership between two people, the fee is $300.00.

Yes. If you are applying for a Malt Beverage Wholesale permit and a Wine Wholesale permit the total fee will be $600.00.

A warehouse should be climate controlled and suitable for storing beer and wine. In addition, you must have an office in which business is conducted and records can be stored and maintained. Space may be rented in a multi-tenant warehouse, but alcoholic beverage inventory must be physically secured in a reasonable manner, and access to non-licensed persons limited. Offices and records maintained in separate locations must be licensed separately, with appropriate application forms and fees submitted to the ABCC. A home office is not a suitable location and will not be licensed.

Yes, GS 18B-1113 and GS 18B-1114 require that the products must come to rest at the licensed premises of the NC wholesaler before being sold to a retailer. That means that the product must be off-loaded from delivery vehicles prior to being delivered to the retailer.

No. No provisions are made for refunds whether the application was approved, rejected or withdrawn.

All fees collected from the ABC permit system are deposited with the State Treasurer.