We need another shot of Sunday sales
Not too terribly long ago, there were no retail Sunday sales of alcohol in the state of Georgia. Thankfully, the legislature finally jettisoned its mid 1800s mindset and communities can decide this issue locally. Most parts of the Metro Atlanta area have put measures on the ballot and passed them. So, cheers!
While there is certainly much to celebrate, state law still prohibits on-premise pouring before 12:30pm on Sunday. This probably doesn’t mean much to some people, but it does to many others. Restaurant owners, particularly those in high traffic areas, miss out on a lot of business because of this law.
Imagine the restaurant located on the West Side of Atlanta. It’s Sunday. The Falcons are playing at home and the game starts at 1pm. Most fans want to be parked and pretty close to the stadium by 12:30. People will drive right past this West Side restaurant because by the time they can actually serve customers an alcoholic drink, they’re chances of making inside the Dome before kickoff are slim to none. So the bar there is empty. Servers are twiddling their thumbs. That’s if they’re even open. Surely they would be open if they knew they could attract customers with alcohol sales.
Consider this scenario: A businessman has a 12:00 flight on a Sunday afternoon. He’s up at 7 for a run and 30 minute workout in the gym of one of the higher-end downtown hotels. He’s dressed by 9 and sets out for breakfast. He finds a place serving brunch, goes in and orders. He also orders a mimosa but is told that state law doesn’t allow them to serve him until after 12:30pm. Our friend smiles at the server and begins to ponder the absurdity of this law. He finishes his breakfast and makes his way to the airport. But this man is not alone. He’s here with 422 other people from his company in Arizona. They’re in Atlanta for their annual conference. He’s on the planning committee for the meeting and he’ll likely be suggesting other locations for next year. He didn’t like being told he couldn’t have his mimosa with breakfast. (The convention business is worth some $12B annually in Atlanta.)
Scenes like this don’t have to take place. We have the power to change them. How? In the same manner we were able to get retail sales on Sunday. We have to make our voices heard. We have to call/email/tweet our legislators and get their attention. We have to let them know that we will not be ignored. That’s exactly what the people who fought for Sunday alcohol sales did. Getting rid of the 12:30 Sunday law will be done in the same fashion.
Keep in mind that the fight for early pour times is not merely for some bubba to be able to have his Bud Light at brunch with his wife. This is about business. Alcohol is a legal product - regulated (heavily) and taxed (heavily) by our government. There are many other vices which don’t get anywhere near the scrutiny that alcohol does. Lottery machines are humming away at all hours. Adult video stores do not have to wait til 12:30 to open. Cigarettes and other tobacco products are available at all hours of the day and night.
Legislation to allow local communities to decide pour times makes sense. What works for the people of Atlanta will likely be very different than what works in McRae. If this issue hits home with you, check http://owl.li/o7VTe and contact your State Representative now. Don’t think for a minute that we can’t change this outdated 12:30 Sunday law. We can. The fact that we can buy alcohol on Sunday is proof that we can do it.
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