The Lowdown on North Carolina’s Brunch Bill

If you are a North Carolinian, you may have heard a lot of buzz in the last few months about the “brunch bill”. But do you really know what’s going on with it?

The “brunch bill”, which is actually Senate Bill 155 and contains a plethora of other changes to North Carolina’s liquor laws, would allow stores and restaurants to begin selling beer and alcohol starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays (it was previously noon). The bill was signed into action by Governor Roy Cooper on June 30 however local municipalities have to approve the bill for their own communities before the law could go into effect.

Surprisingly not everyone has been on board with this bill and some communities (such as Kure Beach, Nags Head, and New Bern) did not reach the 2/3 majority of votes needed to pass it. From my reading, it seems like the biggest reason the bill did not pass was because of morality reasons – people fear that by selling alcohol earlier on a Sunday, it would deter individuals from going to church or that it would ruin the “family” atmosphere of a tourist area.

Seriously? The beaches are already covered with cigarette butts, beer cans, and other less than savory items in these “family” areas. You walk an extra block in some cute little historic town and may find yourself in a crime ridden neighborhood where heroin needles linger in the gutters. I think our communities need to focus a bit more on fixing their already existing issues than trying to blame those issues on something that hasn’t even come to fruition yet.

But I digress.

I’m not a big drinker myself. I might have one Corona on occasion or a pumpkin beer during the season, but that’s about the extent of it. Does it matter to me about picking up a 6-pack from the grocery store at 11:30 a.m.? Not really. Even though I rarely consume alcohol, I still see the need for North Carolina’s Brunch Bill to pass.

Why?

Revenue.

Living off the cuff of North Carolina’s coast, we receive a lot of tourists to this area. A lot of tourists who support our local businesses and would more than likely not attend church in the area anyway. These are typically families who aren’t going to go wild and crazy and turn into lushes at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning. They are the ones who are going to want to go out, have someone else prepare their breakfast, and enjoy a mimosa or two with their family.

This is the opportunity to drive additional business to our areas. Instead of staying home and fixing their own drinks, people could spend the money out in the community. They could support our local restaurants and shops. The price of one bloody mary may not seem like it would make much difference, but if that person then decides to wander into the shop next door, then multiple people benefit.

The majority of restaurants seem to be in favor of the “brunch bill” but as the communities in North Carolina continue to vote, it’ll be interesting to see the overall outcome.

What do you think about the “brunch bill”? If you aren’t in North Carolina, what time does alcohol sales start on Sunday in your area?

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11 Comments

  1. Great article. It really urks me that this law is still in place in a country where freedom of religion is a thing. It’s an inconvenience, I can’t remember how many times I went shopping in the morning for a Sunday afternoon dinner or cookout in the morning and ended up having to go back to buy alcoholic beverages.

    1. Agreed! They are serious about it at the grocery story too (I think the machines have a block). We were in line once at 11:58 a.m. on a Sunday and had to wait until 12 on the dot to purchase a small case of beer enjoy a gorgeous afternoon of grilling out at the house.

  2. I am all for the Brunch Bill to pass. I got up very early one morning…not a Sunday, and decided to go to the 24 hr Harris Teeter and get my shopping done for the week. When I got to the counter with my food plus 2 bottles of wine I was told it was to early to buy wine I would have to come back in a couple of hours. Seems ridiculous.

    1. Doesn’t it though? Another reason I heard why some communities haven’t passed it is because they worry that this will only help people with a drinking problem obtain alcohol but really – those with an issue aren’t going to let two hours interfere with their addiction.

  3. Although I don’t live in NC, I love to visit the Outer Banks and Topsail Island and am hoping to make it to Asheville and Charlotte soon. As a tourist, this Bill makes sense to me. Who doesn’t love brunch on a Sunday morning?

  4. Seriously?? What a strange thing for people to be worried about. Like someone said already, if a person has an alcohol problem, a two hour shift in when they buy it isn’t going to change anything

  5. This is really interesting. The liquor laws in the South have always been so different — I remember going to South Carolina and ordering a cocktail and getting it in the form of a little shooter instead of from a large, pourable bottle.

  6. I’m for it. As a family we typically eat lunch out on Sunday’s around 11/1130. But sometimes we make a conscious choice to eat later to have a drink because our favorite team is on and we want to celebrate in style.

  7. I was happy the bill passed, all for very similar reasons you and the commenters have stated. Plus “brunch” is becoming a really big deal for millenials in cities; it’s a social activity and so it’s expected to get mimosas or something.

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