ABC Referendum

An ABC referendum will appear on the municipal election ballot this November 5, asking voters to support or not support allowing on and off-premise malt beverage sales and fortified wine sales in Harrisburg.

The Town does not currently allow on-premise sale of malt beverages, unless the permittee also has a mixed-beverage permit, or they are a motel, hotel or restaurant. The Town also prohibits fortified wine sales unless the permittee has a mixed-beverage permit.

The consideration of such a change is brought about by the changing climate of businesses and consumers preferences. Both changes (if approved by voters) to the Town's ABC permitting allowances would open up opportunity for new types of businesses, or for existing businesses to expand their service offerings, which would have positive impacts to the Town's economic development initiatives.

Why Harrisburg is considering this referendum:

• Will support businesses that serve beer for on-site consumption.

• Businesses that serve mixed drinks and liquor will still have to maintain a mixed beverage permit and meet additional local and state regulations for restaurants or private clubs.

• Wineries will be able to obtain an on-premises malt beverage permit to serve beer without having to maintain a mixed beverage permit.

• Businesses that only serve beer will be able to operate with an on-premises malt beverage permit and no longer have to maintain a mixed beverage permit.

• Will reduce the cost for maintaining ABC permits for businesses that only serve beer.

• An ABC permit will still be required and regularly reviewed for businesses that serve any type of alcohol.

• The Town's zoning ordinance still applies and will limit operation of drinking establishments to certain zoning districts.

• Harrisburg will become consistent with most cities in North Carolina that already approved on-premises malt beverage sales in their areas.

What is an On-premise Malt Beverage Permit?

An On-premise Malt Beverage Permit authorizes the retail sale of malt beverages for consumption on the premises and the retail sale of malt beverages in the manufacturer’s original container for consumption off the premises. It also authorizes the permit holder to ship malt beverages in closed containers to individual purchasers inside and outside the State.

  • Malt Beverage = Beer

On-premise Malt Beverage Permits would allow for businesses that do not qualify as a restaurant, brewery or private club to sell malt beverages to customers. (Ex. A tap room that does not offer food and does not brew their own beer)

What is an On-premise Fortified Wine Permit?

An On-premise Fortified Wine Permit authorizes the retail sale of fortified wine for consumption on the premises; either along or mixed with other beverages, and the retail sale of fortified wine in the manufacturer’s original container for consumption off premise.

  • Fortified wine contains more than 16% (but less than 24%) alcohol by volume.
  • Unfortified wine contains less than 16% alcohol by volume.

On-premise Fortified Wine Permits would allow for businesses to sell fortified wine on and off premise. (Ex. Would provide greater selection opportunity for businesses who serve wine)

Referendum on Ballot

(1) To permit the “on-premises” and “off-premises” sale of malt beverages. [ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST

(2) To permit the “on-premises” and “off-premises” sale of fortified wine. [ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST

If referendum is not approved:

Current ABC allowances in Town will not change if voters do not approve the ABC referendum.