North Carolina stands out as a thriving beverage alcohol market within the liquor control states, with sales exceeding $1.7 billion in 2022 and a population of over 7.8 million legal drinking-age residents. The North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission regulates beverage alcohol sales in the state, and products are exclusively sold through locally-operated ABC Stores.

Like some other states with ABC stores, North Carolina’s stores are closed on Sundays, requiring brands to plan their operations accordingly. Familiarizing yourself with this state-operated distribution model and adhering to operational restrictions is vital when entering the North Carolina market. The team at Park Street University pulled together some essential insights for beverage alcohol brands planning to enter North Carolina, focusing on the state’s unique regulatory framework and distribution model.

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How to Get Listed in North Carolina

To enter the North Carolina market, beverage alcohol brands have two avenues: special orders and full listings. Both processes are standard in control states, such as North Carolina, and you can learn more about them in our full overview of control states. In North Carolina, these processes are handled in their own unique manner in accordance with state law

Special Orders

In North Carolina, brands can submit special orders without relying on distributor or retailer requests. This unique feature provides an opportunity for brands to introduce their products independently and potentially gain early market traction. Leveraging special orders can be an effective way to penetrate the North Carolina market swiftly.

Full Listings

Brands can opt for a full listing to establish a more comprehensive presence, but this process requires the involvement of a broker. The broker serves as the intermediary responsible for submitting listing requests and communications with the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. Since there is no set listing meeting schedule, maintaining close collaboration with the broker is essential to meet submission deadlines and maximize the chances of securing a listing.

Requirements for Listing Submission

Before submitting a listing, beverage alcohol brands must fulfill specific requirements. Firstly, they need to establish a shipping point within North Carolina to ensure efficient distribution and meet market demands effectively. Additionally, accurate information regarding the broker’s name and company must be provided. In certain cases involving specific distributors, specifying the broker’s department or division may be necessary. Finally, brands must include high-quality JPEG shots of their bottle to accompany the listing submission, enhancing visual appeal and presentation.

With its substantial consumer base and strong sales figures among liquor control states, the North Carolina beverage alcohol market offers significant opportunities for brands. To succeed, it is crucial to navigate the state’s unique regulatory framework effectively. By understanding the entry paths, submission requirements, and the state-operated distribution model, beverage alcohol brands can establish a successful presence in North Carolina. Collaborating closely with local brokers, meeting submission deadlines, and implementing robust marketing strategies will contribute to a prosperous journey in this distinctive market.

More Resources on Alcohol Regulation

Guide To Alcohol Beverage Approvals

What Are Alcohol Control States?

The Most Common COLA Mistakes to Avoid

Highlights of the U.S. Treasury Report

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