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North Carolina liquor laws kick off the DNC in a ‘dry spell’

A picture taken on July 6, 2012 shows a couple enjoying the night with a bottle of vodka in a bar.
A picture taken on July 6, 2012 shows a couple enjoying the night with a bottle of vodka in a bar.

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Local alcohol laws and restrictions might be alien concepts to outsiders, but they’re simply a way of life in some American cities like Charlotte, North Carolina. With thousands of thirsty Democratic conventioneers descending on the southern city this week, these differences in the specific times and days that allow thirsty patrons to purchase libations are enough to cause one to drink. In North Carolina, all spirits – distillates other than beer and wine – can only be bought at state-run Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) stores, and all ABC stores are closed every Sunday and on holidays like Labor Day. This means that many Democrats also may be looking for a martini or margarita to go with their votes when they arrive on Sunday or Monday.

State officials tried to pass a bill that would temporarily exclude from the liquor restrictions for Mecklenburg County, which includes the convention host town of Charlotte, but the measure stalled in a Senate Committee and this means that businesses who didn’t plan ahead will be high and dry. There are no restrictions on the sale of beer and wine and restaurants and bars can still serve liquor but to keep up with increased demand, they’ll have to stock up before the two-day lockdown begins because they will be unable to restock until Tuesday. With 6,000 delegates, 15,000 journalists, and tens of thousands more politicians, lobbyists volunteers and other attendees and onlookers arriving in a matter of days demand for tippling will be high.


Can the DNC get going in style without proper social lubricants? Will you raise a glass to the DNC from California?


Lucas Johns, co-owner of Tilt on Trade, a bar located in downtown Charlotte

Paul Stroup, chief executive of the Mecklenburg County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board