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Industry veteran named to lead North Carolina alcohol commission

A patron stands in front of a shelf of wine bottles at The Liquor Store.Com in Brooklyn, N.Y., last March.
ANGELA WEISS / AFP GETTY IMAGES
/
via NPR
A patron stands in front of a shelf of wine bottles at The Liquor Store.Com in Brooklyn, N.Y., last March.

A longtime alcohol industry manager has been chosen by Gov. Roy Cooper to lead the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

Hank Bauer, a former general manager for Empire Distributors, is the new commission chairman, succeeding A.D. “Zander” Guy, who resigned in September after serving for over four years. The three-member commission oversees the state’s wholesale and retail liquor distribution.

Guy cited anxiety over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the agency’s recent challenges with timely liquor distribution for stepping down. The commission has taken heat in recent months for persistent shortages on local ABC store shelves.

Bauer “has over thirty years of valuable experience in the industry,” Cooper said in a news release Monday announcing the appointment. “He will be an asset to the ABC Commission and I am grateful for his willingness to serve.”

Bauer, a graduate of Western Carolina University, also previously worked for Boston Beer Company and Blue Ridge Beverage.

The three-member commission controls the sale, purchase and consumption of all alcohol ranging from beer and wine to liquor and has special duties when it comes to the latter. Liquor from licensed distillers is sent to the state’s two ABC warehouses before bottles gets shipped to local stores for sale.

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