Beverage Alcohol Control Law

Representing North Carolina’s Beer and Wine Distributors

Beverage alcohol is a highly-regulated consumer product that is governed by a myriad of complex federal and state laws. North Carolina, like most states, generally requires three separate tiers in the beer and wine industry: manufacturers, distributors and retailers. This is to prevent the vertical integration of the market and to deter power in any one tier from becoming too concentrated.

North Carolina’s state-based beer and wine distributors play a critical role within this regulatory framework. Distributors are responsible for collecting all beer and wine excise taxes on behalf of the State. They also ensure fairness in the marketplace by leveling the playing field among large and small suppliers, providing an invaluable platform for even the smallest craft brewers to compete with the largest multi-national breweries. This philosophy also extends to provide fair competition among retailers, from the largest big box chain stores to the locally-owned general store. The result is an incredibly vibrant beer and wine market that balances the needs of consumers through variety and choice while simultaneously providing a platform for fair and responsible competition in the industry. This is especially true in North Carolina.

At Tharrington Smith, we represent the distribution tier. Our clients are beer and wine wholesalers from all corners of the state, whose members consist primarily of third- and fourth-generation family-owned businesses. We offer comprehensive services for this sector of the industry, such as licensing and permitting, regulatory compliance in mergers and acquisitions, franchise-related issues and counsel on acceptable trade practices. The lawyers at Tharrington Smith are here to assist any beer and wine distribution company on every aspect of the state’s alcohol laws.

Beverage Alcohol Control

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