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Why are there no Happy Hour specials in Wilmington?

Ken Little


Drink specials must be offered from the time the business opens to the time it closes to conform to N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission laws.

“Free drinks or reduced price drinks cannot be offered during limited hours,” the law states.

The law took effect on Aug. 1 1985, and was amended in 1992.

Rule .0232 regulating happy hours, as included in the N.C. General Statutes and specified by the ABC, says that “an on-premise permittee or his agent” shall not:

  •  sell more than one drink to a patron for a single price;
  •  establish a single price based upon the required purchase of more than one drink; or
  •  deliver more than one drink at one time to a patron for his consumption.

The rule does not prohibit the sale of pitchers of alcoholic beverages to two or more patrons. The rule also does not prohibit serving a single carafe or bottle of wine to a single patron.

The rule further states that “an on-premise permittee or his agent shall not give away a drink or sell one at a price that is different from the usual or established price charged for the drink for any period of time less than one full business day.”

“Free or reduced drinks under this provision shall be offered to all customers, not just a segment of the population,” it says.

There are exceptions for “certain holidays,” according to the rule.

“An on-premise permittee may include alcoholic beverages in a package offering that includes a meal or entertainment if the offered special is made in conjunction with the following holidays: New Year’s, Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day,” it says.

The offer of a meal and alcoholic beverage at a single total price is not a violation of the rule “so long as the total price reflects the actual price of the alcoholic beverages and not a reduced price.”

For more information about frequently asked questions to the ABC, go to http://abc.nc.gov/education/permittee/faq.aspx


Do alcohol and cigarette dealers get a 2% discount on their N.C. tax bill for filing on time?

Are Wilmington firefighters allowed to drink alcohol while in uniform?


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One Response to “ Why are there no Happy Hour specials in Wilmington?”

  1. On January 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm Darrell Parks wrote:

    One reason for the “tough” attitude toward “cheap” drinks is that was discovered that by making alcoholic drinks at a low price, it tended to cause excess consumption of alcohol. There were several traffic fatalities linked to reduced price drink.