NC Gov. Closes Breweries But Keeps ‘Essential’ Gov’t-Run Liquor Stores Open

‘Bars and restaurants are closed so there’s no other real place to get alcohol and people are stuck at home…’

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Roy Cooper/Photo by NCDOTcommunications (CC)

(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) North Carolina’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper ordered “non-essential” businesses to close on Friday, as part of a statewide stay-at-home executive action intended to stop the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.

“This pandemic is a war,” he said.

But while private breweries—and the restaurants and bars they serve—have to shutter their doors, government-run liquor stores curiously fall into the “essential” category and will remain open for business.

Why? Because Cooper says so.

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North Carolina is one of 17 alcohol “control” states. It has an Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission that keeps a tight grip on the sale, purchase, transportation, manufacture, consumption and possession of all alcoholic beverages in the state.

The ABC Commission is also housed within the Department of Public Safety, and that agency reports directly to the governor’s office.

Closing private breweries and their clients while keeping government-backed liquors stores open makes a lot more sense when considering Cooper’s ability to crush competition.

Especially since alcohol sales are through the roof.

“Bars and restaurants are closed so there’s no other real place to get alcohol and people are stuck at home,” reported Newsweek.

According to a new Neilson’s report, sales are up 55 percent from this time last year and online orders are up 243 percent.

But “non-essential” businesses like the Sugar Creek Brewing Company in Charlotte are getting cut out of the coronavirus boom. And with no customers, and little ability to sell their inventory, the business is in serious jeopardy.

“I was blown away by the amount of beer we had. Death row is immediately what popped up into my head cause I knew there’s no possible way to get rid of all this beer,” co-owner Eric Flanigan told WCNC, a Charlotte NBC affiliate.

“Definitely scary you take it one day at a time,” co-owner Joe Vogelbacher said.

Now, Sugar Creek is trying to survive.

“It means so much to me; it represents my livelihood, the livelihood of all our employees and our craft,” said Vogelbacher.