Local Politics

Carrboro becomes 1st town to allow Sunday morning alcohol sales under 'brunch bill'

Posted July 3
Updated July 4

— Carrboro has become the first town to allow the sale of alcohol at 10 a.m. on Sundays following the passage of the so-called “brunch bill.”

Senate Bill 155 morphed a few times this session and passed as a 17-page omnibus bill making a number of changes to state liquor laws.

The Carrboro Town Council voted during a meeting Monday night to allow Sunday morning alcohol sales there.

The vote passed with little opposition and, effective immediately, the sale of malt beverages, wine and mixed beverages within Carrboro’s corporate limits is allowed beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

“There was very little discussion. We were all really excited when it became evident that we would be able to pass this ordinance,” said board member Jacquelyn Gist.

Mayor Lydia Lavelle said the passage of the “brunch bill” is an opportunity for more revenue.

“More business for our restaurants in town. The sooner we pass this, the sooner they will be able to start serving a little earlier,” she said..

“When it became obvious that this was going to be a possibility, we wanted to [vote] Saturday, but the governor didn’t sign it in time for us to have 48 hours’ notice,” Gist said.

Lavelle said the feedback from businesses has been mostly positive in anticipation of the vote

“We’re not going out and promoting a ‘go out and get drunk at 10 in the morning’ atmosphere. We’re promoting go out and celebrate and have a drink with your family for friends and spend a little money in our town and help our local businesses and local employees,” Lavelle said.

Brunch bill's passage creating new mix of opportunities for NC distillers

The legislation does much more than allow alcohol sales starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

Under the bill, distillers will be able to sell people who tour their distillery up to five bottles of liquor now in a year, instead of just one. They'll also be able to conduct tastings at festivals.

The bill also loosens rules on rebates on alcoholic beverages and allows auctioneers to auction off high-end wine.

Dozens of distilleries around the state are hoping the law sets them up for future success. Some owners say the law could help boost their profits by up to 30 percent. The state has more than 50 distilleries in all, and many of them are small, family-owned entities.

"It felt like, for one of the first times, the state understood the growth industry distilling is and that we felt like we were having a chance to succeed," Melissa Katrincic, owner of Durham Distillery and vice president of the Distillers Association of North Carolina, said.

With the new freedom provided in the bill, many distillers are preparing for the challenge of meeting demand that could increase by 500 percent.

Katrincic said she noticed an immediate change after Gov. Roy Cooper signed it last week. Within 45 minutes, she says sales jumped $300.

Allison Barnett, a distillery sales representative, says the changes to state law could put distillers on a path similar to the craft brewery industry.

"What I'm looking for in the future is for us to open up sales, just like breweries and wineries do in this state," Barnett said.

The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association cheered the bill's passage. The industry's lobbying group said 47 other states allow some form of early Sunday sales.

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