Forsyth County Commissioners held the first of two public hearings about amendments to the county’s alcohol ordinance to include allowances for delivery of alcohol, to-go packaged alcohol and mixed drinks to-go. Below is a breakdown of the proposed modifications.
Delivery of alcohol
Changes to the amendment could include grocery and convenience stores, retail package stores, restaurants, brewpubs and other consumption on-premises licensees may offer alcohol delivery with a qualifying food order.
Alcohol may also only be delivered on the dates and times that alcohol can be sold in stores.
Delivery drivers must be 21 years old or older, must complete an alcoholic beverage delivery training course and a retail licensee employment contract must be stored in the vehicle or accessible electronically.
Alcohol cannot be delivered to anyone under the age of 21, and recipients must show proof of identification and cannot be “noticeably intoxicated.” If there are any concerns about a recipients age, identification or sobriety, the delivery must be cancelled, and the alcohol must be returned to the outlet it was ordered from.
Alcoholic beverage tasting events and sampling
Retail package stores may hold up to 52 tasting events per year on premise for customers. Only one type of alcohol may be served, and hosts can only serve up to 8 ounces of malt beverages, or beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
Tasting events cannot exceed four hours, and samples must be provided by a representative or salesperson of the business in a room or area closed to the public.
Sunday alcohol sale times
Currently, residents can only buy alcohol on Sundays from 12:30-11:30 p.m. in Forsyth County. The new proposed hours will be 11 a.m. to midnight and will affect grocery stores, convenience stores and retail package stores.
Licensed restaurants are allowed to sell to-go orders of alcohol alongside a qualifying food order or entrée. Customers may purchase sealed beer and wine in original containers, and topless or open containers are strictly prohibited.
Mixed drinks to-go
Similarly, a maximum of two mixed drinks can be sold by restaurants, taverns and brewpubs with qualifying food orders or entrees. Customers placing the orders must pick up on premise or by curbside delivery.
The mixed drinks must be affixed with a label identifying the business’s name, and containers must be “tamper-evident containers,” which when opened, provide visible proof that tampering has occurred.
Sales receipts must include a time stamp and date of purchase for any and all mixed drinks, and there cannot be more than 3 ounces of distilled spirits in each drink.
Manufacturer brewery and distillery allowances
This modification would allow for a transfer of liquids from a licensed premise of a distiller and a transfer of malt beverages from a licensed premise of a brewer. It also removes the daily consumption limits and increases the production limits.
Distilled spirits will move from 500 to 700 barrels, and malt beverages will move from 3,000 to 6,000 barrels.
This change also allows for an increase in retail sales of distilled spirits, moving the limit from 2,250 to 4,500 milliliters.
Local business owners voiced support for the modifications, including Ricardo Jaime, owner and operator of CT Taqueria at Halcyon.
“It’s modifications like these that are necessary to continue the development of our hospitality sector in this county,” Jaime said.
Jaime said that Halcyon is an example in Forsyth County of how “progressive alcohol rules can attract lots of outside business and attention.”
Amy Moreau, owner of Talk of the Table at The Collection was also “100% in favor” of both the changes and the regulations. She said that being able to deliver alcohol was “integral” to her business’s success, especially during the pandemic, and she hoped that she and other local business owners would be able to make up lost revenue that might have occurred over the past 18 months.
Joe Garcia, owner and founder of NoFo Brew Co., said that he was in favor of keeping in line with state regulations, specifically Georgia House Bill 273 which, according to the Georgia Municipal Association, “allows breweries and distilleries to transfer production between owned locations and set Department of Revenue reporting requirements.”
Dep. Frampton spoke on behalf of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, stating that the department was “good to go on enforcement” and were in favor of the proposed modifications.
“If anything, it may have more people drinking at home than leaving a restaurant [after] drinking and driving home,” Frampton said.
Frampton explained that the sheriff’s office would make sure to investigate each complaint individually and that all officers would be receiving education and training to coincide with the new changes.
Board members did not take any action on the item, and another public hearing has been planned for Thursday, Sept. 16.