regulation

Hard to Swallow: Maze of Rules Hinders Expansion of State’s Alcoholic Beverage Industry

The Cato Institute regularly publishes a report titled Freedom in the 50 States.1 According to the most recent edition, since 2010, North Carolina has improved substantially, advancing from 26th to 19th place in the overall rankings. Unfortunately, in the “alcohol freedom” category, North Carolina continues to languish in 35th place. This over-regulation of alcoholic beverages harms the North Carolina entrepreneurs who would otherwise enter the market as producers and sellers.

The state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABC) maintains a complete monopoly on the distribution of such liquor, and — with a few minor exceptions — such liquor may only be sold in stores owned and operated under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission’s authority.

Alcoholic beverage regulations have stifled entrepreneurship in North Carolina for far too long. Privatizing the state-run liquor business, breaking up the state-enforced wholesale distribution oligopoly, and eliminating unnecessary and unreasonable rules would usher in a golden age for alcoholic beverages in North Carolina and move us significantly closer to the goal of being “first in freedom.”

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