Yes you read that correctly. The NCABC markup on a bottle of spirits is 80.8%. They explain why on the website and it sounds like our system ensures everyone gets a piece of the pie.

On every delivered case of spirituous liquor approved for sale, there is an 80.8 percent markup. Therefore, the selling price at retail, in addition to cost of goods, includes:

Bailment fee that funds the ABC warehouse private contractor
Surcharge fee that funds the ABC Commission’s budget
Federal tax
State tax
Local ABC Board markup
Rehabilitation tax
Other miscellaneous tax(es)

They spell it out on the website with a breakdown and show the math for why things cost what they do. All I get out of it is a racket designed to assure revenue. With the local ABC guaranteed 39% and the state guaranteed 30% + sales tax it does not take a rocket scientist to see why the state and local municipalities/counties are reluctant to abandon and reform our antiquated system.

On the bright side we also don’t get gouged on rare items when they show up. The price is the price and we don’t have to worry about some crazy markup by an independent store. While we cannot seem to get Pappy 20-year if we did get it the retail price would be $150. Just this morning I saw some entrepreneur trying to build a nest egg by offering a bottle for $800 on a forum. For me to drop $800 on a single bottle of hooch it would have to blow off my socks and my shoes and fireworks shoot out my ears.

The downside is all liquor has to go through the state and with the markup we often pay more than adjoining states for the same spirit. I found it a bit astonishing a bottle of Blanton’s is $59.95, but the state gets it for $31.92. Our government in action.