Raleigh, N.C. — Two House bills that would facilitate beer sales are headed to the Senate floor after a very brief appearance in the Senate Commerce Committee.
House Bill 829, the "Growler Bill," would allow restaurants, retailers and wine shops to sell resealable 64-ounce glass jugs of beer. Growler sales and refills are currently allowed only at the brewery.
Sponsor Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, was barely two sentences into his presentation when Sen. Clark Jenkins, D-Edgecombe, motioned for a favorable report. The bill passed unanimously with no debate.
House Bill 610, In-Stand Beer Sales, also chugged through in record time. It would allow vendors to sell beer in the stands at professional sporting events at venues with a seating capacity of 3,000 or more. Vendors would not be allowed "to verbally shout or hawk the sale of malt beverages."
Current law allows in-stand beer sales only at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Patrons at other venues must stand in line at the concession counter to buy beer.
Sponsor Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, called it a "customer service bill."
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, warned the committee that in-stand sales would lead to more consumption. He cited a 2008 study by the National Institutes of Health that found that in-stand alcohol vendors were more likely than concession workers to sell to intoxicated or underage customers.
But Tim Kent, executive director of the North Carolina Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association, said professional sports team owners want the right to provide in-stand sales. He said patrons will be able to spend more time in their seats with their family and friends, instead of standing in long lines at the beer counter.
The second measure also passed unanimously with no debate, except a quip from Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon.
"Are all these alcohol bills directly related to being in the House?" he asked Hardister.