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New Kroger to allow on-premises alcohol sales

Buying beer and wine at the grocery store is nothing new, but Forsyth County shoppers will soon be able to drink inside a new grocery store.

At a meeting on Thursday, Forsyth County Commissioners voted 4-1, with District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills opposed, to approve a license to sell beer and wine for consumption on premises at a yet-to-be-opened Kroger at 5550 Bethelview Road, near the intersection with Castleberry Road.

“In order to really capitalize on all the food and product we can sell to our customers, something we’ve started in the state and across the country is adding an area in our store where alcohol can be consumed by the drink,” said James Dixon, who was approved as the store’s license holder.

When asked by Mills if the license was just for tastings, Dixon said it was “both a tasting and by the drink.”

Before approving the on-premises permit, commissioners unanimously approved an alcohol license for the store for beer and wine sales by the package. Dixon was approved as license holder for both licenses.

County staff said while there are separate licenses since Dixon holds both, both licenses would be impacted by any violation of the code.

Dixon said there would be a cap on the number of drinks customers are allowed to buy and consume.

“There is a limit of no more than three drinks, and we offer more, so not necessarily for your run-of-the-mill alcohol, but more of the craft beers so our customers are able to try one before they can make the decision to purchase multiple of a particular item,” he said.

Mills, the only commissioner to vote against the on-premises license, said she had concerns about drinking and driving.

“Would three drinks not put them over the alcohol limit?” Mills asked. “I thought that you could be considered to be [able to] get a DUI on the third drink.”

Dixon said the license meant customers could sample products before making a decision.

“It’s really … to invite our customers to try something that they may not normally go out on a limb and purchase because the craft beers can be $18 for a six-pack,” Dixon said. “Versus doing that, there’s an opportunity to purchase one.”

The store is expected to open this summer.