On Tuesday, November 8, Atlanta made another giant step forward into the 21st century when city residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of allowing grocery stores, wine shops, and package stores to begin selling booze at 11 a.m. rather than 12:30 p.m. on Sundays.
The measure passed by 82 percent in Atlanta, with the new law taking effect in 2023. It also extends Sunday buying time by the drink and package to 12 a.m. instead of 11:30 p.m.
Thought you could already purchase booze on Sunday mornings? You can, but only at restaurants in the city, not at the grocery store or your local wine or package shop. While the start time for sales by the drink at 11 a.m. on Sundays was previously approved by residents in 2018 (aka the Brunch Bill), it’s the start time for sales by the package and the extension of both sales to 12 a.m. people voted in favor of on Tuesday.
Referendums such as Sunday morning package sales are presented to Georgia voters by municipality. So, what’s law in one city or county, may not be law in another.
Georgia continues to throw off the last vestiges of the state’s archaic Sunday blue laws, which started with permitting Sunday retail alcohol sales in 2011. A law allowing limited direct sales from Georgia breweries and distilleries passed in 2017, followed by Sunday sales starting at 11:00 a.m. at restaurants a year later.
In 2020, Gov. Brian Kemp signed HB879 into law, permitting 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 restaurants got the governor’s seal of approval. Restaurants and bars with valid food service permits and licenses 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 acquired from the restaurant by the person who ordered the drinks.