Bill would let craft distilleries sell more liquor

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–A new bill could impact the amount of distilled spirits you’re allowed to buy.

Senate Bill 155 would overturn what’s known as the one bottle law. Currently, each visitor to a distillery can buy a single bottle, every 12 months.

“All of this money is infused back into the community and state,” said Don Walton, owner of Walton’s Distillery. “For the state to bind us by this one bottle law, it’s really tough and would impact the economy.”

For every bottle sold, the state gets 30 percent of the sale. Currently, customers are referred to a local ABC store if they want to buy more.

The bill would increase purchase limits from one bottle to five.

“It’s not uncommon for someone coming in to want to buy one of each of your products or maybe buy an extra bottle for a friend of a family member,” Walton said. “If we don’t capture that sale here, it’s more than likely a sale lost.”

Senator Rick Gunn (R- Alamance) sponsored the bill. He said in a statement:

“This bill strikes a good balance of growing our NC economy and continuing ABC Commission control. S155 will allow our local distilleries, craft breweries, and wineries to grow their businesses and create jobs and tax revenue.”

If passed, the bill would also allow distilleries to conduct tastings at events.

Distiller Phillip O’Hara owns the Diablo Distillery in Jacksonville. He’s in the process of redoing part of his shop to include a tasting area.

“One bottle per person once per year was not really going make me a lot of money,” O’Hara said. “We weren’t really set up for tours at this time, but now that they’re pushing this bill, we’ve re-epoxied the floors, laid down some gravel out at the road and are trying to get prepared for the influx of people hopefully coming to the distillery and buying some liquor.”

O’Hara bottles his product by hand and says the new law would bring in more tours.

The bill would also allow restaurants to sell alcohol starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays. It’s currently in the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.

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