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Person County Residents To Vote On Mixed-Drinks Referendum

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PERSON COUNTY, N.C. — Residents in Person County will soon head to the polls to vote on a mixed-drinks referendum.

Patrons can drink all the liquor they want from the bottle they bring from home. The state allows brown-bagging where mixed drinks are not allowed. Restaurant owner Wayne Norman would rather control the flow of liquor in his downtown restaurant.

"Your patrons come in and sit down at your table and set their bottle on the table and drink the whole thing," he said. "To me, it's kind of scary. If we had mixed drinks, we could have a lot more control."

The organization representing opponents of mixed drinks declined to speak with WRAL, saying its campaign signs speak loud and clear.

Most ministers in Person County have schooled their congregations on the danger of mixed-drink sales.

"I don't think it's good for the community. We have a quiet community. We have a good county. We have industry here, and I don't think it's going to do that much for us," said the Rev. Tommy Robertson.

Merchants are pushing passage of the mixed-drink measure as a way to keep from losing customers who drive to another county where mixed drinks are sold. The mixed-drinks measure in Person County would limit mixed-drink sales to hotels, restaurants, private clubs, community theaters and convention centers.

Other areas are also putting the bottle on the ballot. Warren County voters will also weigh in on a mixed-drink referendum next Tuesday.

The town of Wilson's Mills in Johnston County has both a wine referendum and a malt beverage referendum on the table.

Tuesday, the Lillington Town Board approved placing a liquor by the drink referendum on ballots in November. Currently, restaurants within town limits cannot sell beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages.