18B-1114.7. Authorization of spirituous liquor special event permit.

(a) Authorization. - The holder of a supplier representative permit, brokerage representative permit, nonresident spirituous liquor vendor permit, or distillery permit issued under G.S. 18B-1105 may obtain a spirituous liquor special event permit allowing the permittee to give free tastings of its spirituous liquors at ABC stores where the local board has approved the tasting, at shopping malls or at trade shows, conventions, street festivals, holiday festivals, agricultural festivals, balloon races, farmers markets, local fund-raisers, and other similar events approved by the Commission. Additionally, the holder of a spirituous liquor special event permit may sell mixed beverages or spirituous liquor distilled or produced at the distillery in closed containers at trade shows, conventions, agricultural festivals, farmers markets, local fund-raisers, and other similar events approved by the Commission.

(b) General Limitations on Consumer Tastings. - Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c) of this section, any consumer tasting is subject to the following limitations:

(1) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent shall conduct the consumer tasting and the permit holder shall be solely responsible for any violations of this Chapter occurring in connection with the consumer tasting.

(2) The spirituous liquor shall be poured only by either (i) the permit holder conducting the consumer tasting or (ii) an employee or authorized agent of the permit holder conducting the consumer tasting who is at least 21 years of age.

(3) Each consumer shall be limited to one tasting sample containing 0.25 ounces of any product made available for sampling at the consumer tasting, and the total amount of the tasting samples offered to and consumed by each consumer shall not exceed 1.0 ounce of spirituous liquor in any calendar day.

(3a) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent may only provide tasting samples of products from one distillery per booth, kiosk, or display.

(4) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent shall not offer tasting samples to, or allow consumption of tasting samples by, any consumer who is visibly intoxicated.

(5) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent shall not offer tasting samples to, or allow consumption of tasting samples by, any consumer under 21 years of age. The person pouring the spirituous liquor shall be responsible for verifying the age of the consumer being served by checking the identification of the consumer.

(6) The permit holder shall not charge a consumer for any tasting sample.

(7) Repealed by Session Laws 2019-182, s. 6(a), effective September 1, 2019.

(8) A consumer tasting shall not be allowed unless the venue is located in a jurisdiction that has approved the sale of mixed beverages.

(9) The permit holder may provide point-of-sale advertising materials and advertising specialties and may sell branded merchandise such as glassware, cups, signs, t-shirts, hats, and other apparel to consumers at the consumer tasting.

(10) The permit holder shall maintain for a period of at least one year a record of each consumer tasting conducted. The record shall include the date of the consumer tasting, the time of the consumer tasting, an identification of the venue at which the consumer tasting was held, an identification of the spirituous liquor that was provided for tasting at the consumer tasting, and the name of any person who poured spirituous liquor at the consumer tasting. The permit holder shall allow the ABC Commission to inspect those records at any time.

(11) Consumer tastings may not be provided between the hours of 2:00 A.M. and 7:00 A.M., except that on Sundays consumer tastings may not be provided until 12:00 noon unless the sale of alcoholic beverages before 12:00 noon is authorized by local ordinance pursuant to G.S. 153A-145.7 or G.S. 160A-205.3.

(b1) General Limitations on Sales of Mixed Beverages. - The sale of mixed beverages in conjunction with a consumer tasting under a spirituous liquor special event permit is subject to the following limitations:

(1) The sale of mixed beverages in conjunction with a consumer tasting is not authorized at shopping malls, street festivals, holiday festivals, or balloon races.

(2) The mixed beverages shall contain only spirituous liquor distilled or produced at the distillery.

(3) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent shall conduct the sale of mixed beverages, and the permit holder shall be solely responsible for any violations of this Chapter occurring in connection with the event.

(4) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent may only sell mixed beverages containing products from one distillery per booth, kiosk, or display.

(5) The mixed beverage shall be prepared only by either (i) the permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent conducting the consumer tasting or (ii) an employee of the permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent conducting the consumer tasting who is at least 21 years of age.

(6) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent shall not knowingly sell more than one mixed beverage to a customer per calendar day, per distillery.

(7) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent shall not sell or serve mixed beverages to any consumer who is visibly intoxicated.

(8) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent shall not sell or serve mixed beverages to any consumer under 21 years of age. The person preparing the mixed beverage shall be responsible for verifying the age of the consumer being served by checking the identification of the consumer.

(9) The sale of mixed beverages shall not be allowed unless the venue is located in a jurisdiction that has approved the sale of mixed beverages.

(10) Mixed beverages may not be sold between the hours of 2:00 A.M. and 7:00 A.M., except that on Sundays mixed beverages may not be sold until 12:00 noon unless otherwise authorized by local ordinance pursuant to G.S. 153A-145.7 or G.S. 160A-205.3.

(b2) General Limitations on the Provision of Spirituous Liquor in Closed Containers. - The provision of spirituous liquor in closed 50 milliliter mini-bottle containers, at no cost, in conjunction with a consumer tasting under a spirituous liquor special event permit is authorized subject to the following limitations:

(1) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent shall provide only spirituous liquor distilled or produced at the distillery.

(2) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent shall conduct the provision of the spirituous liquor, and the permit holder shall be solely responsible for any violations of this Chapter occurring in connection with the event.

(3) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent may only provide spirituous liquor distilled or produced by one distillery per booth, kiosk, or display.

(4) The spirituous liquor shall be provided only by either (i) the permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent conducting the consumer tasting or (ii) an employee of the permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent conducting the consumer tasting who is at least 21 years of age.

(5) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent shall not knowingly provide more than one 50 milliliter mini-bottle of spirituous liquor to a customer per calendar day, per distillery. Notwithstanding G.S. 18B-301(e), a customer may possess a mini-bottle purchased at a consumer tasting event while at the event.

(6) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent shall not provide spirituous liquor to any consumer who is visibly intoxicated.

(7) The permit holder or the permit holder's authorized agent shall not provide spirituous liquor to any consumer under 21 years of age. The person providing the spirituous liquor shall be responsible for verifying the age of the consumer being served by checking the identification of the consumer.

(8) The provision of spirituous liquor shall not be allowed unless the venue is located in a jurisdiction that has approved the sale of mixed beverages.

(9) Spirituous liquor in closed containers may be provided between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 9:00 P.M. on Monday through Saturday of each week, from 12:00 noon to 9:00 P.M. on Sundays, and from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. on each of the following holidays that do not fall on a Sunday: New Year's Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving Day.

(c) Additional Limitations on Tastings in ABC Stores. - Consumer tastings conducted in an ABC store shall have the following additional limitations:

(1) The spirituous liquor used in the consumer tasting event shall be purchased by the permit holder from any ABC store at the price set by the Commission. The permit holder shall remove from the premises any remaining spirituous liquor used in the consumer tasting event at the conclusion of the consumer tasting event.

(1a) The permit shall be issued in the name of the distillery or, if issued to a supplier representative, brokerage representative, or nonresident spirituous liquor vendor, in the name of the nonresident spirituous liquor vendor or the name of the business the supplier representative or brokerage representative represents.

(2) A local board may allow consumer tasting events to be conducted only between the hours of 1:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. on any day the ABC store, where the consumer tasting event is being held, is authorized by law to sell spirituous liquor. No consumer tasting event shall be conducted for more than three hours.

(3) The local board shall limit the consumer tasting events allowed per ABC store as follows:

a. No more than three consumer tasting events may be held per calendar week.

b. No more than two different permit holders may conduct a consumer tasting event at the same time.

(4) Notwithstanding subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of this section, the total amount of the tasting samples offered to and consumed by each consumer at a consumer tasting event shall not exceed one-half ounce of spirituous liquor in any calendar day.

(5) The permit holder conducting the event may provide point-of-sale advertising materials and advertising specialties to consumers at the consumer tasting event, but shall not conduct any sales of any branded merchandise or apparel to consumers at the consumer tasting event.

(6) The local board may post notice of the consumer tasting event at the local board's administrative offices and at any of the ABC stores within the local board's system and may provide notice of the consumer tasting event to any mixed beverage permittee that purchases spirituous liquor from an ABC store within the local board's system. Except as permitted by this subdivision, no local board or permit holder shall advertise or promote the consumer tasting event to the public or cause any person to do so on its behalf.

(7) The permit holder shall provide written notice of the consumer tasting event to the ABC Commission at least 48 hours before the consumer tasting event. The notice shall include all of the following:

a. The date and time of the consumer tasting event.

b. The ABC store at which the consumer tasting event will be conducted.

c. The spirituous liquor that will be provided for tasting at the consumer tasting event.

(8) The Commission shall adopt rules to ensure that local ABC boards that choose to allow tastings provide holders of distillery permits issued under G.S. 18B-1105 with reasonable opportunities to conduct tastings.

(9) Any tasting conducted in an ABC store shall be the sole responsibility of the permit holder. No employee of a local board may participate in or conduct a tasting in an ABC store.

(10) Any additional conditions imposed by the local board. Any additional conditions shall be in writing, and the local board shall post notice of the additional conditions at the local board's administrative offices and provide a copy of that notice to any permit holder upon request.

(11) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a permit holder conducting a consumer tasting event pursuant to this section shall not provide any consideration to the local board, its board members, or its employees for any purpose related to the consumer tasting event. A consumer tasting event shall not be used by permit holders for unlawful inducements to a local board.

(d) For purposes of this section, "distillery" means the holder of a distillery permit issued under G.S. 18B-1105 or a business located outside the State that is licensed or permitted to manufacture spirituous liquor in the jurisdiction where the business is located and whose products are lawfully sold in this State. (2017-87, s. 2(c); 2018-100, s. 6(c); 2019-182, s. 6(a); 2021-150, s. 6.2(g).)