About Us

ABC Board Fun Facts

Did you know?

  • The ABC Board currently operates 29 stores with approximately 320 full and part-time employees?
  • Mixed beverage election took place on September 8, 1978 and first retail sale was November 21, 1978?
  • There are five board members appointed by the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners?
  • In 1947, there were 16,377 votes for and 12,830 votes against the election for an ABC Board in Mecklenburg County?
  • In North Carolina, a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of .08% is all that is necessary to be convicted of Driving While Impaired (DWI)?

Please read on to learn more about the Mecklenburg County ABC Board’s history and how the sale of spirits is managed and enforced across the county.

ABC Board History

Mecklenburg County ABC Counter Store, 1935

In 1937, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted an Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) bill that:

  • Allowed voters in each county to determine whether or not spirituous liquor should be sold at retail through the operation of a local ABC Board and its retail stores; and
  • Established a North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Commission to have oversight authority with respect to each local ABC Board.

A decade later, in 1947, local voters decided to allow the sale of alcohol in Mecklenburg County.The work began with Frank K. Sims, Jr. (Chairman), Fred Anderson (Store Operations Director) and Henry Severs (Law Enforcement Chief).Forging new ground, these three men opened seven stores and established a strong base for today’s operations. Today’s hard-working employees are found in warehousing, store operations and law enforcement – all serving Mecklenburg County residents and visitors who choose to purchase spirits.

What does an ABC “Control” State Model mean?

Currently one of 17 states and jurisdictions in Alaska, Maryland, Minnesota, and South Dakota with some form of the "Control" model, North Carolina gave local jurisdictions a vote option for alcohol (including which types) to be sold in their area.

In North Carolina, spirits are only sold in ABC stores and spirits are all an ABC store can sell. Beer and wine are available at grocery stores and other specialty or convenience stores.While some counties voted to establish an ABC system, others were established at the city or municipal level.In Mecklenburg County, the system is operated within the county and is aptly named the Mecklenburg County ABC Board. There are five members of the Board of Directors who are appointed by the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.

ABC Boards in North Carolina are local, independent political subdivisions of the State.Boards operate as separate entities, establishing their own policies and procedures. They retain authority to set policy and adopt rules in conformity with ABC laws and North Carolina ABC Commission rules. There are 171 active ABC Boards in the state as of the end of FY 2019.

What does the North Carolina ABC Commission do?

The North Carolina ABC Commission is an independent agency housed in the NC Department of Public Safety with a direct report to the Governor’s Office. The Commission provides uniform control over the sale, purchase, transportation, manufacture, consumption, and possession of alcoholic beverages in the state.

Where does the ABC Board get its money to operate?

The Mecklenburg County ABC Board operates solely on the revenue derived from spirit sales in Mecklenburg County. There is no property, state or other local tax used to support ABC operations.

What does the ABC Board do to support the community?

The Mecklenburg County ABC Board does much more that sell spirits! North Carolina law requires the Mecklenburg County ABC Board to distribute a percentage of its gross profits before distribution:

  • No less than 5% for law enforcement services; and
  • No less than 7% for alcohol and/or substance abuse (substance use disorder) education, prevention, treatment, and/or research.

Money is then set aside as cash to operate the system.The balance of net profits is then distributed according to a schedule established by Mecklenburg County voters:

  • 47.5% to both Mecklenburg County (of which 2% must be paid to Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville, Pineville, Matthews, and Mint Hill) and the City of Charlotte general fund; and
  • 5% to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library.

Through its Community Health & Wellness Grant Program, the Mecklenburg County ABC Board provides grant funding to eligible non-profit organizations and state entities, supporting programs that focus on alcohol and/or substance abuse (substance use disorder) education, prevention, treatment, and/or research. Current community partners provide a wide array of programs and services to improve the health and well-being of county residents.

The ABC Law Enforcement Division works to build relationships in the community and promote efforts that enhance public health and safety. Employing 17 full-time and sixteen part-time ABC Reserve Officers, these employees maintain full arrest powers throughout the State. The ABC Law Enforcement Division also partners with NC ALE and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department ABC Unit officers to enforce North Carolina ABC laws.

Rich in history and looking to the future, the Mecklenburg County ABC Board is here to serve county residents and visitors, making health, well-being and safety a priority for all.