How to Get a Liquor License in Charlotte, North Carolina

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Liquor license requirements vary greatly from state to state. Therefore, it is important to understand what the requirements are for the state where your business wishes to operate. The following represents the liquor license requirements for the state of North Carolina.

Preparing for the Permit Application

Properly register the business for which the liquor request is being made within the state of North Carolina. Requirements vary slightly for sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies and corporate structures. Alcoholic permits are issued based on the type of business.

Determine the type of permit for which to apply. These could include winery, brewery, distillery, liquor importer, wine importer, wine wholesaler, malt beverage importer, malt beverage wholesaler, winery special event and more. Then determine the type of business using the permit. These include restaurants, hotels, retail businesses, private clubs, convention centers, and others. See the resources listed below to get detailed information on this step.

Complete a form proving the business for which the permit is being applied is properly zoned for liquor sales. This must be signed by the proper zoning official.

Provide the state with permission to do a fingerprint search. Such searches must be authorized within the state as well as the nation.

Agree to comply with state recycling rules and regulations. This ensures that the business will do everything with in its power to recycle those materials that are applicable.

Provide proof of proper alcohol server/seller training. This is a relatively new requirement within North Carolina, implemented on January 1, 2008.

Be capable of proving the age of management. Mangers of a business selling hard liquor must be a minimum of 21 years of age. The manager of a business selling malt beverages or wines (unfortified) must be at least 19 years old.

Be prepared to provide proof of resident status. All managers of businesses that intend to sell liquor, malt beverages, or wines in North Carolina must be residents of the state. Permit filing exceptions may be made for corporate directors, stockholders, or attorneys who are applying for the business’s but who will not serve in a management capacity or be involved in the daily operation of the business.Those applying for a “non-resident” permit are not required to be a resident of the state of North Carolina.

Assure that no manager of a liquor distributing business has been convicted of a felony within the past three years. Management may also not have been convicted of alcoholic beverage law or a controlled substance misdemeanor within the last two years. Finally, management cannot have had another alcoholic license revoked within the past three years.Those applying for a permit on behalf of the company are subject to the same rules and regulations.

Complete fingerprint cards for each person applying for an alcoholic permit. Fingerprint cards can be done at most police stations or sheriff offices.

Applying for the Permit

Fill out the Application for ABC Retail Permit. It can be downloaded directly from their website. Submit along with the $38 filing fee and the permit fee which ranges from $200 to $500 depending upon the type of permit required (see Resources below).

Wait for investigation and permit issuance. The Alcoholic Law Enforcement Division will conduct an investigation into the truthfulness of the permit application. Although a temporary permit "may" be authorized in the interim (within 30 days), the permit will not become final until the investigation is completed.If any problems occur or if any falsehoods are found during the investigation process, the permit is likely to be immediately suspended until the investigation is complete. At that point, the applicant's permit may be suspended indefinitely, limited, or denied altogether for a certain amount of time which will be dependent upon the severity of the problem or falsehood.

Reapply for permit, if necessary. If the permit has been temporarily denied or revoked, the applicant may reapply after the amount of time established by the commission. Certain permits, especially those issued for limited events, may require periodic renewal. If so, this information will be included in the application materials received at the beginning of the process. This status varies depending upon the type of permit for which the business is applying.Changes in management have 30 days to meet application requirements (standards and training) or the ABC permit can be temporarily pulled until those requirements are met.

Post permits as established by the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Request permit duplicate if the original is lost or destroyed. Duplicates can be requested at the North Carolina ABC site (see Resource listed below). Once the form has been filled out and a duplication fee of $10 has been received, the permit should be received within 10 days unless unforeseen problems arise.

Complete required reports. In some instances, the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Commission may require reports to be filed either on a regular basis or "on demand." Additionally, audits may be conducted at any time as established within North Carolina law. For more information about these requirements, refer to North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 18B.


  • Be certain that you have all of the pieces in place before completing the paperwork.
  • Alcoholic permits expire if the business does not begin within a six month period of the issuance of the application.
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