NC House Serves Up a Full Round of Pro-Business Restaurant and Hospitality Bills
RALEIGH, NC — This week’s passage of House Bill 890, "ABC Omnibus Legislation," tops off a series of bipartisan legislation passed overwhelmingly this session by the North Carolina House of Representatives. The bills are designed to assist the hospitality industry, which has been particularly beset by pandemic-related challenges, including closures and restrictions.
"The House is working to help small businesses across our state to recover from the serious hardships they faced as a result the COVID-19 pandemic,” commented Speaker of the House Tim Moore.
The omnibus bill, which passed 100 to 10, encompasses a myriad of alcohol-related technical changes, but has a central component lending support to one of the fastest growing agricultural industries, craft distilleries. The legislation allows North Carolina distilleries to extend hours to Sunday and non-Sunday holiday sales (currently, distilleries may only sell their product when ABC stores are open) as well as bring their marketing campaigns to trade shows, conventions, farmers markets, agricultural fairs and local fundraisers. H.B. 890 also allows the online sale of liquor from ABC stores, provided the person who places the order picks it up.
“H.B. 890 gives the growing craft distilling industry a fighting chance to succeed in what is a challenging business environment,” said Pete Barger, President of the Distillers Association of North Carolina and CEO of the Southern Distilling Company in Statesville. “And because most of the grain and raw ingredients used in our products is produced right here in North Carolina, our local farmers and communities will benefit as well.”
Other bills originating in the House ABC Committee which have passed the House and are therefore eligible for Senate consideration this year include:
“North Carolina is synonymous with hospitality,” commented Representative Tim Moffitt (R-Henderson), Chairman of the House ABC Committee and author of the bills. “The success of the thousands of small businesses in this industry is a cornerstone of a thriving economy. This past year, these folks have been challenged in unprecedented ways — so it makes sense that we move forward in creative ways to provide a lifeline to them however we can.”
Representatives of the hospitality sector were pleased with the spate of House legislation, which will directly affect nearly 10,000 small businesses across North Carolina that hold ABC permits.
“The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association recognizes that the House’s work goes a long way toward driving the economic recovery for North Carolina’s small businesses hurt by the pandemic,” said Andy Ellen, NCRMA’s President and General Counsel.
"The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association applauds Speaker Moore and the entire House of Representatives for their decisive and creative efforts to help our industry move forward,” added Lynn Minges, President and Chief Executive Officer of NCRLA.
“We appreciate the tremendous insight and leadership shown by Representative Moffitt, during the drafting and review process,” concluded Barger. “He is a skilled legislator who worked with all the stakeholders to get this legislation passed out of the State House. We are counting on his leadership to get these bills across the finish line.”
The bills are now before the North Carolina Senate for further consideration and approval.