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Will Atlantans Finally Be Able to Buy Booze on Sunday Mornings?

A referendum on the November 8 ballot for Atlanta would permit the sale of alcohol at package stores, wine shops, and grocery stores starting at 11 a.m. on Sundays

H&F Bottle Shop
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

In 2018, Atlantans flocked to the ballot box to vote overwhelmingly in favor of the Brunch Bill, allowing restaurants across the city to begin serving alcohol at 11 a.m. on Sunday. And now, package stores, grocery stores, and wine shops throughout Atlanta could soon join them, finally throwing off one of the last vestiges of Georgia’s archaic Sunday blue laws.

If passed, a referendum now on the ballot for November 8 for the city of Atlanta would permit the sale of alcohol at package stores, grocery stores, and other retail outlets selling booze to begin at 11 a.m. on Sundays rather than 12:30 p.m. The bill also extends that Sunday buying time to 12 a.m. instead of 11:30 p.m.

Here’s how the “Sunday Alcohol Sales Measure” question reads on the city of Atlanta ballot:

Shall the governing authority of the City of Atlanta be authorized to permit and regulate Sunday sales of malt beverages, wine, and distilled spirits by the drink from 11:00 AM. to 12:00 Midnight and by the package from 11:00 AM. to 12:00 Midnight?

While the start time for sales by the drink was previously approved by residents in 2018, it’s the start time for sales by the package and the extension of both sales to 12 a.m. currently being voted on during this election cycle.

Over the last decade, Georgia has begun updating its antiquated alcohol laws, starting with Sunday retail alcohol sales in 2011, followed by limited direct sales from the state’s breweries and distilleries in 2017 and Sunday sales starting at 11:00 a.m. at restaurants in 2018.

In 2020, Gov. Brian Kemp signed HB879 into law allowing for home delivery of beer, wine, and liquor in Georgia from restaurants, bars, convenience stores, some package and retail stores, and grocery stores. Then, in 2021, to-go cocktails from Georgia restaurants got the governor’s seal of approval.

Restaurants and bars with a valid food service permit and license to serve distilled spirits are allowed to sell up to two cocktails per takeout entree ordered in approved, sealed containers. Cocktails must be made the same day the drinks are ordered and contain no more than three ounces of distilled spirits. Unlike home delivery of beer, wine, and liquor from package stores, to-go cocktails cannot be delivered by a third party delivery service like UberEats or Postmates and must be picked up by the person who ordered the drinks from the restaurant.

Early voting continues in Atlanta through Friday, November 4. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. Click here to check for early voting locations, Election Day polling locations, and ballot status.