If the hectic Thanksgiving holidays didn't allow you time to buy that favorite bottle of wine for Sunday dinner or you forgot to pick up some beer to enjoy while watching football, you can buy beer and wine today at convenience stores licensed to sell alcohol in Bulloch County.
County voters approved a referendum Nov. 8 to permit the sale of beer and wine in county stores and county commissioners added the Sunday sales provision to the county's alcohol ordinance as part of their consent agenda Nov. 15.
According to Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch, commissioners voted unanimously to enact what the voters approved in the election and allow beer and wine sales in stores throughout the county immediately. Couch said the county is also going to offer a referendum in March that, if approved, would allow alcohol by the drink in licensed restaurants throughout the county.
Voters in Statesboro also approved a referendum Nov. 8 allowing beer and wine sales on Sunday in grocery stores and convenience stores, along with sales of alcohol by the drink in restaurants. Since council members are considering other changes to the city's alcohol ordinance, first reading was held Nov. 15, a public hearing is set for Tuesday and final passage is expected Dec. 6. If all goes as planned, Sunday, Dec. 11 would be the earliest day for alcohol to be sold in Statesboro stores and restaurants.
Voters in Brooklet and Portal voted down referendums to allowing Sunday beer and wine sales within their city limits.
The statewide ban on Sunday alcohol sales was passed by the Legislature in 1937 after prohibition was ended at the national and state levels. But many local governments outlawed Sunday sales even before Georgia launched its own prohibition of alcohol in 1908. After Gov. Nathan Deal signaled he would not oppose Sunday sales after taking office in January, state lawmakers opted to allow cities and counties to decide the issue for themselves.
The Georgia Food Industry Association said 128 Georgia cities and counties had a Sunday alcohol sales referendum on the ballot Nov. 8, with 105 winning approval.