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RALEIGH, N.C. -- A house panel in North Carolina approved a bill that allows retailers to utilize coupons or membership cards for the sale of beer and wine, reported The Associated Press.
The bill, which will continue on to the full House, goes against the current law that prohibits discount coupons or free beverages as a part of alcoholic advertising, the AP reported. The bill allows any retailer of beer and wine to supply sales incentives to customers.
The bill makes an exception to the current law by only making such discounts available when customers use a discount or loyalty card at the stores, the report stated.
Stores in the state can offer reduced prices based on manufacturer or distributor discounts, but free beverages are still against the law, the AP reported.
The bill could raise sales of alcoholic beverages in the state, according to Christian Action League of North Carolina spokesman Rev. Mark Creech. "Any time that you have a two-prong approach of teaming and advertising with a discount price for alcohol sales … you have a rise in consumption levels," he told the AP. "This is a sweeping change in alcohol policy in North Carolina."
Discounts could be used to highlight the state's wines, said Andy Ellen, spokesman for the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association. He added that he does not expect the consumption level to rise with the introduction of the coupons, however.
"The retailers just want to be able to reward their customers," Ellen told the AP.