Is YOUR STATE in control of your drinking?

There are currently 19 control and monopoly states in the U.S., depending on the definition used. (The term "control state" is popular but misleading in that all states control and regulate the sale of alcohol to some degree. In this sense, every state is a "control state," whereas only 19 are monopoly states.) 

The extent to which this monopoly extends differs from state to state. Out of the 18 states that regulate alcohol wholesaling, only nine (Alabama, Idaho, New Hampshire, Oregon, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Utah) run liquor establishments. The others either permit ABC licensed private stores to sell liquor or contract the management and operations of the store to private firms, usually for a commission.

In all of these control states, some form of low-alcoholic beverages
are available in private retail outlets for off-premise consumption. Most of these states require private retail outlets to have a license issued by the ABC board (usually called an ABC off License). Similar licensure procedures apply for acquiring an on-premise license.

Use of the term "alcoholic beverage control" by a state does not make it a "control" (or monopoly) state. For example, Arkansas uses "Alcoholic Beverage Control" or "ABC" to refer to its state agencies that regulate alcohol sales; yet all alcohol sales (wholesale and retail) in those communities that allow it are by private firms. Though Arkansas (like most states) generally limits the number of retail outlets in an area, outlets within those limits are free to compete. Therefore, Arkansas is a local option state, but it is not a "control" (or monopoly) state.

Many "control" (or monopoly) states are members of the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association.


State listings

The 19 control or monopoly states as of 2010 are:

  1. Alabama (Liquor stores are state-run or on-premise establishments with a special off-premise license.)[2]
  2. Idaho (Maintains a monopoly over sales of beverages with greater than 16% ABV.)
  3. Iowa (Does not operate retail outlets. Passed a bill in March 2010, allowing high-proof beer to be privately distributed.) [2]
  4. Maine (State-contracted to private businesses for commission)
  5. Maryland (Under state law the counties of Montgomery, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester are county alcohol controlled which mandates that off-premise liquor sales are to be conducted only at county owned and operated dispensaries/stores. One exception exists in Montgomery County, four grocery stores had their licenses grandfathered prior to the change of the law[3]. Until recently Dorchester County was an alcohol control county until the County Council voted to permanently shutter the county owned liquor dispensaries.)
  6. Michigan (Does not operate retail outlets; maintains a monopoly over wholesaling of distilled spirits only.)
  7. Minnesota Some cities (notably Edina) have control sales.
  8. Mississippi (State-contracted liquor stores)
  9. Montana (State-contracted liquor stores, modeled after the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission)[4]
  10. New Hampshire (Beer and wine can be sold at supermarkets & convenience stores; spirits and liqueurs are sold only in state-run liquor stores.)
  11. North Carolina (Beer and wine can be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores; other spirits must be sold in liquor stores owned by local ABC boards. The State ABC Commission controls wholesale distribution and oversees local ABC boards.)
  12. Ohio (Licenses businesses to run liquor stores for a commission; these stores have a monopoly on sales of beverages with greater than 21% ABV.)
  13. Oregon (Beer and wine can be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores; other spirits must be sold in liquor stores operated and managed by state-appointed liquor agents who act as independent contractors under the supervision of the OLCC.)
  14. Pennsylvania (All liquor stores [wine and spirits] are run by the state. Recently, there have been state-run retail outlets in the form of automated kiosks, opened inside some supermarkets; currently, 19 supermarkets have this.[5] Malt beverages are sold in case lots by distributors and in smaller quantities by on-premise establishments.)
  15. Utah (all beverages over 3.2% ABW [4.0% ABV] are sold in state-run stores, Utah code 5(a)(i))[6]
  16. Vermont (Liquor stores are state-contracted and licensed)
  17. Virginia (Beer and wine ≤14% ABV sold at supermarkets and convenience stores; all liquor stores are run by the state)
  18. Washington (Beer and wine sold at supermarkets, gas stations, department stores, etc.; spirits and liqueurs are sold only in state-run or state-contracted liquor stores.)
  19. West Virginia (Does not operate retail outlets; maintains a monopoly over wholesaling of distilled spirits only.)
  20. Wyoming (State-contracted stores)
About one-quarter of the United States population lives in control or monopoly states.

Content:  Wikipedia

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