A bill that would allow Sunday morning alcohol sales and let distilleries sell more of their products directly to customers is headed to the desk of Governor Cooper.
Senate Bill 155
, or as it's better known, "the brunch bill," passed the Senate 37–9 late Wednesday night. Before it can take effect, the bill must be signed by the governor and local governments must opt in to the Sunday sales provision by passing an ordinance.
The bill would allow restaurants and stores to begin selling alcohol at ten a.m., two hours earlier than under North Carolina's blue law. SB 155, among other provisions, also allows distilleries to directly sell five bottle per year to customers, as opposed to the current limit of one bottle per customer per year. It also allows farm breweries in dry areas to sell their brews with a permit from the local government.
SB 155 has been touted as a boon for North Carolina's tourism industry, with a social media campaign (and obligatory hashtags, including #FreeTheMimosa) growing up around efforts to see it passed. The N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association has been one of its biggest advocates. President and CEO Lynn Minges released this statement Wednesday night:
“The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging community celebrates the passage today of S.B. 155, the ‘Brunch Bill,’ by the North Carolina General Assembly. This is an exciting new option for the hospitality industry. North Carolina joins 47 other states that allow some form of early Sunday sales of alcohol.
“The passage of S.B. 155 will help restaurants to better meet the needs of their guests, particularly where tourism drives business or where local residents demand more choices. In cities and counties that elect this option, restaurants will be able to meet customer demands, grow their businesses, create jobs, increase tax revenue and bring patrons into business districts earlier in the day.”
Way to go, N.C. You deserve this.