Can I bake with booze?
Let’s clear up the controversy around wanting to bake with booze (alcoholic beverages). Let’s look at when you can and can’t use booze in baked goods or other homemade food products sold to the consumer.
In North Carolina, the rules and regulations for using alcohol in homemade food products are different from other states.
For example, in NC an Alcoholic Beverage Control permit is not required to use alcoholic beverages as an ingredient. The key words here are “using alcoholic beverages as an INGREDIENT.” But, a commercial type business (that’s you) selling or serving any type of alcoholic beverage requires an ABC permit.
Below is a Wilton video showing how booze can be incorporated in a cupcake. Doing this for personal use is allowed. If you have a private party with family/friends, great! Once you slap a price on the cupcakes and sell them; it becomes illegal. You are selling alcohol. If you pop a tiny bottle of booze in the top of the cupcake (even if the bottle is unopened) it’s illegal.
If you are not sure, you need to contact the Alcoholic Beverage Control for your state. The fines associated with serving booze without a permit or license are hefty.
What does this mean?
All you lovely bakers who want to stick a miniature bottle of liqueur or other alcoholic beverage in the top of a cupcake or other food product, beware! Follow your state law. Not sure about the size of the miniatures? They are the 50 ml bottles often used as gifts, samples, or for promotional purposes. But this requirement is for all alcoholic beverages.
Do you live in North Carolina? Are you interested in obtaining the ABC permits? Please visit the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission website for the type of permits needed.
Once at the website, scroll down to ABC Laws – Chapter 18B (double-click) down to 18B-902. Application for permit; fees. (for type of permits), then scroll down to 18B-1000. Definitions concerning establishments (specifically defining the type of ABC business you are looking to operate).
If you have specific questions contact:
Angel M. Menendez
North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission
400 East Tryon Road
Raleigh North Carolina 27610
Direct: 919.779.8329 // Fax: 919.661.5927
4307 Mail Service Center Raleigh NC 27699-4307
Please share the permit/license information for your state in the comments. We would love to create a map with this information for other cottage food operators.