North Carolina Beer Laws in 2022 (Sunday Sales and Where To Buy)

Every state is different with its beer laws. North Carolina, although straightforward, has laws of its own that are worth noting. What should you expect when trying to buy beer in North Carolina in a bar or at a gas station?

In North Carolina, you can buy cans, bottles, kegs, draft beer, and growlers from retail locations, bars, and restaurants. These locations can sell beer Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. and on Sunday after noon. Beer delivery is available in North Carolina. There’s a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving under the age of 21.

Keep reading for a comprehensive look at North Carolina’s beer laws, as well as any outstanding circumstances for buying beer.

Is North Carolina a dry state?

The United States has no dry states, and North Carolina is no exception.

North Carolina is not a dry state and does not have any dry counties. Beer and liquor sales are permitted in bars, restaurants, and retail locations.

All counties sell beer, although some might implement time restrictions.

Does North Carolina have any dry counties?

Until recently, North Carolina had only one dry county.

North Carolina has no completely dry counties. As of 2021, Graham County, the state’s newest ‘wet’ county, permits alcohol sales in select locations.

When can you buy beer in North Carolina?

North Carlina has some relatively open laws regarding beer sales. You can buy beer in North Carolina any day of the week.

You can buy beer in North Carolina at bars, restaurants, and licensed retailers Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday after noon. These times may vary between counties.

Private retailers’ hours are determined by the store.

Can you buy beer on Sunday in North Carolina?

North Carolina permits the sale of beer on Sundays.

On Sundays in North Carolina, you can buy beer from any location with the license to sell it after noon. This includes bars, restaurants, and retail locations.

You can even buy beer on holidays in North Carolina if grocery stores and other locations are open.

When do bars close in North Carolina?

When do the bars close here? When do they stop selling beer?

Bars in North Carolina are permitted to open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. All bars must stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m. but allow customers to continue drinking until 2:30 a.m.

All tables and bartops must be clear of alcohol by 2:30 a.m.

Where can you buy beer in North Carolina?

Beer is sold in every county in North Carolina. What locations sell beer?

There are several places you can buy beer in North Carolina, including:

  • Bars and restaurants
  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Breweries and taprooms

Some North Carolina counties may have time restrictions for when you can buy beer from these locations. Continue reading for more concise information regarding buying beer from these places.

Bars and restaurants

You can buy beer at bars and restaurants in North Carolina between the hours of 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, beer can not be sold until noon.

These locations stock drafts, bottles, and cans of different sizes. You can even buy beer to go if it’s in its original packaging.

Happy hour is illegal in North Carolina.

Gas stations

In North Carolina, you can buy beer from gas stations from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and after noon on Sunday. Gas stations have an 80-liter maximum of beer that can be sold at one time.

Gas stations in North Carolina are allowed to sell cans and bottles of beer in 12-24 oz. cans. There is an 80-liter limit for buying beer at gas stations.

The gas station must have a permit that allows for off-premise alcohol sales.

Grocery stores

Grocery stores sell beer in North Carolina and are permitted to do so between the hours of 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and after noon on Sunday.

The grocery store must have a $1,500 minimum of staple foods like bread, eggs, and milk to be considered a food business that can sell alcohol for off-premise consumption.

Similar to gas stations, there is an 80-liter limit for buying beer at grocery stores.

Package and liquor stores

Package and liquor stores in North Carolina are not allowed to sell beer. Alcoholic Beverage Control stores in North Carolina only sell liquor and wine and are closed on Sundays.

The ABC stores are not open on New Year’s Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, or Christmas Day.

Breweries and taprooms

In North Carolina, breweries and taprooms are permitted to sell beer from 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday and on Sunday after noon. Hours for these locations vary heavily at the business’ discretion.

Breweries and taprooms in North Carolina sell draft beers, cans, and bottles for on-site drinking.

These locations are permitted to sell kegs and other packaged beers for off-premise consumption if they’re in their original packaging.

Can you get beer delivered in North Carolina?

You can get beer delivered in North Carolina during regular hours of operation. Sites like Drizly and MiniBar offer delivery options in North Carolina. 

Beer delivery is available in North Carolina. Certain on-premise establishments offer delivery or curbside pickup during permitted hours of operation. You can 12-24 oz. cans delivered, as well as bottles. There is no limit on the amount that can be delivered.

What is the minimum drinking age in North Carolina?

The legal drinking age for all U.S. citizens is 21 years old. Although some states permit minors to have a beer with their parents during dinner, North Carolina is not one of them.

The minimum drinking age in North Carolina is 21 years old.

It is illegal to sell minors alcohol and a bar, restaurant, or retailer reserves the right to not sell to anyone they believe is under the age of 21.

Can minors drink beer in North Carolina with parents?

It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink beer in North Carolina.

Minors are not allowed, under any circumstance, including with their parents, to drink beer in North Carolina.

Drinking laws in North Carolina

North Carolina sets straightforward drinking and beer laws

You can buy beer in any county in North Carolina and can do so at several locations.

North Carolina permits growlers and has easy-to-follow laws for transporting open containers. The state has a zero-tolerance law in place for drinking and driving under the age of 21.

Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in North Carolina?

Growlers are great for breweries to provide their beers to consumers.

Growler fills are permitted in North Carolina under required permits, usually possessed by breweries or taprooms and some retailers. The maximum amount to fill a growler is the standard 64 ounces.

Prefilled growlers must have a legible label on them and all growlers must be sealed with a cap.

Open container

In North Carolina, it is illegal to transport open containers in the passenger area of a vehicle. It is legal to transport them in the trunk or other storage compartments.

An exception to this law is that taxis and buses permit open containers in passenger areas, as well as in the living quarters of a mobile home.

Driving

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal in North Carolina.

The blood alcohol limit (BAC) may not exceed 0.08% – 0.04% for a commercial vehicle or repeat offenders – without penalty. Drivers under the age of 21 may not have more than a 0.01% BAC.

Under 21 years old

North Carolina has a zero-tolerance policy toward drinking and driving under the age of 21.

Anyone under the age of 21 is punishable by the full extent of the law if they register more than 0.01% BAC. Any trace of alcohol will result in a 30-day revocation of the offender’s license.

21 years and older

For those 21 years old and older, the BAC limit for driving is 0.08%. Misdemeanor DWI in North Carolina results in one of five levels 5 being the least serious and 1 being the most serious, of punishment:

  • Level V – A fine of up to $200 and a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours and a maximum of 60 days.
  • Level IV – A fine of up to $500 and a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours and a maximum of 120 days.
  • Level III – A fine of up to $1,000 and a minimum jail sentence of 72 hours and a maximum of six months.
  • Level II – A fine of up to $2,000 and a minimum jail sentence of seven days and a maximum of one year.
  • Level I – A fine of up to $4,000 and a minimum jail sentence of 30 days and a maximum of two years.