In July 1951, the voters of Forsyth County rejected and the voters of the City of Winston-Salem approved the question of ABC stores.
The City of Winston-Salem Board of Alcoholic Control was established and five retail stores within the city limits were scheduled to open August 14, 1951; however, one location was not able to open until a few days later due to shelving problems.
The main purpose of the Board was to control the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages within the city. All of the stores sold only fifth and pint bottles. Half gallon bottles were added later and created quite a controversy when first introduced. Profits were divided three fourths to the City and one fourth to Forsyth County.
Winston-Salem voters approved liquor by the drink by a 2 to 1 margin on March 6, 1979, ending a ban on mixed drinks sales caused by a 1908 statewide liquor referendum that closed the towns twelve saloons and two package stores. The first mixed beverage store opened March 20, 1979 and the first purchased was March 23, 1979. Legal licensed establishments included restaurants, hotels, convention centers and private clubs.
There was competition between Joc Lyn’s Restaurant and the Hyatt House Hotel to be the first establishment to sale alcohol (mixed drinks). Joc Lyn’s Restaurant placed the first order of 146 bottles (12 cases) and the Hyatt House Hotel placed the second order totaling $15,000 with the City of Winston-Salem ABC Board. The orders were filled on the basis of who applied first. Mr. Marvin Workman, of Joc Lyn’s applied first, and was allowed to pick up his order before the Hyatt House. He brought a pickup truck to carry most of his order of 12 cases back to the restaurant. He gave each of the two waitresses a bottle of Old Grand Dad bourbon to make the two-mile trip in separate cars — with a police escort — a head of the rest of his order. This was a precautionary measure in case a vehicle broke down or had a flat tire. Joc Lyn’s Restaurant sold the first mixed beverage drink at 9:40 a.m. on March 23, 1979 to Mr. Dan Beck who arrived at 7:00 a.m. to be the first in line to order a whiskey sour. Pat Russell ordered the second drink, an old-fashioned and proposed the first toast: “this drink is to validate the support for liquor by the drink and to applaud the progressive people of this city. In Winston-Salem, we’re doing it.”.
Not to be outdone, the Hyatt House Hotel moments later proclaimed Terry Holmes of London to be “the only person ever to have a drink riding nine floors up in an elevator.” As the hotel’s full order was being loaded at the ABC store, Hyatt’s manager, rushed back to the hotel with two fifths to mix the ceremonial first drink. Smirnoff vodka and Amaretto di Saronno were purchased to mix the drink called, “RELEASE THE SPIRIT”. The “RELEASE THE SPIRIT” drink consists of Smirnoff vodka, Amaretto di Saronno, a dash of grenadine and ice cream, and stirred with a skewer of strawberries. The drink cost $5.00; however, the prices of mixed beverages ranged from $1.50 to $1.95 for house brands to $2.25 to $2.50 for more exotic mixes.
August 21, 1978, Winston-Salem opened its 1st self-service ABC store at Sherwood Plaza, Robinhood Road. All stores were converted to self-service by 1989.
September 28, 1979, the Cherry Street ABC store was replaced with the 2nd self-service store on Cherry Marshall (Beneath the Elms ice skating rink).
Reynolda Manor, East Winston (New Walkertown Road) and Thruway ABC stores were 3rd, 4th and 5th self-service stores to open.
September 18, 1990 voters in the Village of Clemmons approved the sale of retail and mixed beverages and the Village Council decided to join the City of Winston-Salem ABC Board. The temporary ABC store opened November 5, 1990 and the permanent store opened October 28, 1991 with the profits generated going to the Village of Clemmons.
October 23, 1990, the City of Winston-Salem Board of ABC was changed to the Forsyth Municipal Alcoholic Beverage Control Board after the Village of Clemmons joined the system.
January 29, 1991 voters in Kernersville approved the sale of retail and mixed beverages and the Board of Aldermen decided to join the Forsyth Municipal ABC Board. The first retail sales occurred April 5, 1991 at the temporary store while the permanent store location was being built. The permanent store opened December 9, 1991 with the profits generated going to the Town of Kernersville.
On November 2, 1999 voters in Bermuda Run and the Town of Lewisville approved the sale of retail and mixed beverages and requested to join the Board. Profits generated in each of these municipalities will be returned to the respective municipality.
On November 4, 2003 voters in Oak Ridge and September 19, 2006 voters in Yadkinville approved the sale of retail and mixed beverages alcohol. Their individual Town Councils’ unanimously requested and voted to join the ABC system.
September 19, 2006 voters in Yadkinville approved the sale of retail and mixed beverage alcohol. The Town Council of Yadkinville requested to join the Board. The Yadkinville ABC store’s grand opening was December 12, 2007 with the profit generated from the sale of alcohol going back to the town.
Thus, effective August 16, 2005 at the regular board of director’s meeting, the board members unanimously voted to change the name of the Forsyth Municipal ABC Board to the Triad Municipal ABC Board. The change was due to the ABC stores location in Forsyth, Guilford, Davie and Yadkin counties.
The Triad Municipal ABC Board office is located at 3127 Starlight Drive, Winston-Salem, NC. In addition to full-time store and administrative personnel, the ABC Board employs law enforcement agents to enforce the liquor laws of the state and member municipalities. The mission of the ABC Board is to ensure Control of the distribution and sale of spirituous liquor in accordance with the laws of the State of North Carolina; provide a level of Service to all customers consistent with sound business principles; and maintain the highest level of Revenue possible and practical, for distribution to the member municipalities.
The Board presently has fourteen retail ABC Stores and one mixed beverage store. We carry approximately 90% of the codes on the State price list. Bottles range in size from miniature bottles to the 1.75 liter size.