Explained: New drinking laws, “social districts” come to NC

It's now totally kosher to purchase from area distilleries like Eda Rhyne on a Sunday. | Photo by AVLtoday

Alcohol laws in NC just got an update — and one regulation is changing for the first time since the early 1900s. Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 890 into law last month, as an all-encompassing effort to revamp drinking laws.

Here’s the major changes: 

  • Online ordering via the state-run ABC stores is now permitted, as well as the sale of refrigerated beverages
  • College sports fans can purchase 2 alcoholic drinks at a time, rather than just 1
  • Distilleries are now allowed to sell bottled liquor on Sundays between the hours of 12-9 p.m. 

About those social districts…

Another interesting aspect of the bill is that it allows cities + counties to create “social districts,” aka outdoor areas where people can consume alcoholic beverages sold by designated establishments. If you’re befuddled about how cities implement the districts, check out these examples

We’re not quite Bourbon Street, yet though — the creation of these social districts comes with rules. Here’s a few:

  • The district has to be clearly defined with signs posted to indicate what area is included, as well as the days + times that alcohol can be consumed. 
  • The city or county will create management + maintenance plans and post them on their website, including a rendering of the boundaries of the district.
  • Drink containers must identify the establishment where the beverage was purchased, display a logo or mark unique to the social district, cannot hold more than 16 ounces, and must include a statement reading “Drink Responsibly – Be 21.” 

While the City of Asheville has not yet shared any inclination to move forward with the districts, we can’t help but wonder about the possibilities — and what you Ashevillians think about this new measure. Let us know below.