ALE History
In 1909, North Carolina became the first state in the South to ban the sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages, and the first to do so by popular Moonshine.jpgvote. A nationwide ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages began in 1920.  Prohibition resulted in moonshining and rampant crime and corruption throughout the United States. Prohibition was repealed in 1933.

Alcohol enforcement varied greatly from one jurisdictionto the next, so in 1937 the NC General Assembly created the N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

The state legislature created statewide ABC enforcement as an arm of the State ABC in 1949.  Those working in this section were beer and wine inspectors with regulatory responsibilities and limited enforcement authority.  Inspectors were in plain clothes to work ABC outlets and track down illegal liquor stills across the state.ABCInspectors.jpg

In 1964, ABC enforcement inspectors became state ABC officers with full arrest powers for alcohol-related crimes.  Brown-bagging laws also went into effect about this time and state ABC officers transitioned to a full uniform for work.

Complaints from business owners said the uniforms hurt their businesses, As a result, ABC officers returned to wearing plain clothes around 1966 -1967.

Due to the variety and severity of crimes occurring at alcohol establishments, the N.C. General Assembly gave ABC officers full powers of arrest in 1971. State ABC officers were now re-sworn and issued new badges.

In 1977, the NC General Assembly created the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety and the ABC enforcement arm of ABC was transferred and named the Alcohol Law Enforcement Division.  ALE jurisdiction and authority was changed to include primary enforcement of alcohol and drug laws.  The officers were re-sworn as NC Alcohol Law Enforcement agents. John Brooks was the first director of Alcohol Law Enforcement.

ALE agents attended the NC Highway Patrol Academy from 1977 to 1979 before starting their own academy in 1980.
In 1978 liquor-by-the-drink was approved in North Carolina and in 1986, the legal drinking age was raised from 19 to 21.
ALE received 13 new agents in 1994, the first manpower increase in 22 years. The total number of agents overseeing 15,000 ABC-licensed establishments was 117. The number of agents has been reduced to 109 while the number of ABC establishments has grown to over 18,000 outlets.

Alcohol Law Enforcement began a number of programs, from offering training to ABC businesses to closing down nuisance properties.

ALE started the Be A Responsible Seller/Server (BARS) training program. BARS is an educational program offered to licensed ABC and NC Education Lottery permit holders and their employees. The BARS training began in the early 1980s and educates employees on topics such as how to spot underage and intoxicated people, how to properly check IDs, and how to tactfully refuse sales and service to intoxicated individuals. ALE conducts more than 500 BARS programs annually.

In 1994 ALE created the Nuisance Abatement Team to use civil statutes to abate properties that were sources of chronic criminal activity in communities. ALE partners with local law enforcement agencies to remove illegal shot houses, drug houses, and other illegal activities that are a detriment to the neighborhoods.KeystoLife-(1).jpg

The Keys to Life program started in October 2001. This program is aimed at high school and college students to increase their awareness of the dangers of drinking alcohol, particularly during the prom and graduation seasons. A grant by the NC Governor's Highway Safety Program got the program started.

In 2014, ALE was moved under the NC State Bureau of Investigation as a branch agency.

  1920 Prohibition and moonshining resulted in rampant crime and corruption
  1933 Congress repealed prohibition, but enforcement was fragmented and varied greatly by county
  1937 North Carolina Legislature created State ABC Commission
  1949 Statewide ABC Enforcement Division created
  1971 ABC officers are given full powers of arrest
  1977 Crime Control and Public Safety formed; ALE created from ABC Enforcement
  1978 Liquor-by-the-drink approved in North Carolina
  1986 Legal drinking age raised to 21
  1994 First ALE manpower increase since 1972 (13 agents) 
  2014 ALE transferred to the State Bureau of Investigation