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Georgia's 'Mimosa Mandate' Is a Victory for Alcohol Freedom

Now restaurants can sell alcohol on Sundays as early as 11:00 a.m.

MimosaDavid Tran / DreamstimeBottoms up, Georgia residents: Among the slew of measures that voters passed in the November midterms, perhaps none was as vital as the "Brunch Bill," which allows cities and counties to let restaurants serve alcoholic beverages as early as 11:00 a.m. on Sundays, as opposed to the previously sanctioned 12:30 p.m. (The bill itself passed the state legislature in early 2018, but local communities held referenda during the midterms on whether to take advantage of the new rules.) Now the law is gradually taking effect, with Grovetown up next this weekend.

Boozy brunchers in several municipalities—from Atlanta to Athens to Savannah—can be two sheets to the wind before noon, peach mimosas in tow. But that's not the only reason to raise a glass.

"Each restaurant would generate about an extra $25,000 a year, because it roughly boils down to about $480 on a Sunday," Karen Bremer, CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association and cognoscente of all things dining-related in the Peach State, tells Reason. That doesn't account for the impact on individual servers and bartenders, who will pocket more tips thanks to higher tabs and to patrons who might be, well, happier than usual. If adopted in every municipality, Georgia's roughly 4,000 restaurants could bring in an additional $100,000,000 in revenue.

Why stifle alcohol sales when they're clearly the miracle elixir society needs? Michelle Minton of the Competitive Enterprise Institute explained to Reason last year that the antiquated restrictions stem from blue laws, which limit Sabbath Day activities on religious grounds. Those were especially popular following the repeal of Prohibition. "When the states decided to legalize [alcohol] again, a lot of them instituted blue laws," said Minton, "and it's taken this long for most of the states to slowly get rid of them."

South Carolina state law still prohibits the sale of liquor on Sundays, and retail wine and beer can only be sold if a local ordinance allows it. In Maine, you normally can't indulge until 9:00 a.m., though the law makes an exception on St. Patrick's Day. (You can get shamrocked starting promptly at 6:00 a.m.) And when Christmas falls on a Sunday, Massachusetts bans off-premises alcohol sales on Monday, because the state can't miss out on an extra opportunity to deprive people of joy. The Bay State has also outlawed happy hours.

To make matters worse, Georgia's ban on morning drinking only applied to privately owned companies; government buildings have been free to let the booze flow. That disconnect is what inspired Republican State Sen. Renee Unterman to draft what's affectionately been called her "mimosa mandate."

Bremer tells AccessWDUN that she expects "many, many more counties and cities" to hold Brunch Bill initiatives this year. Cheers to that.

Photo Credit: David Tran / Dreamstime

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  • Dan S.||

    Among the slew of measures that voters passed in the November midterms, perhaps none was as vital as the "Brunch Bill," which allows cities and counties to let restaurants serve alcoholic beverages as early as 11:00 a.m. on Sundays, as opposed to the previously sanctioned 12:30 p.m.

    None as vital? The others must have been pretty insignificant then. Sure, it's a step towards increased freedom, which is always welcome. But it's a pretty small step. An hour and a half one day a week? Is having a drink in a restaurant on a Sunday morning really a major issue in Georgia? If that's the most vital question Georgia voters had to decide, they must be in pretty good shape.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    We voted to reduce the time. Its hard to get stuff on ballots.

    We started with no alcohol sales on Sunday and many dry counties.

    We also voted to end bans on fireworks.

    We have loosened the Bible Belt a bit.

  • $park¥ is Tui­pa||

    Tulpa triggers me, hence my screen name.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    But you are Tulpa!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    And you are Weigel, Citizen Crusty.

  • $park¥ is Tui­pa||

    And you're Sparky.

  • Tul­pa||

    Actually, I'm not and never was. There is a real tulpa. I just stole the name and ran him off.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    We have been voting away the Blue Laws for years now.

    First Sunday alcohol sales and then we have been voting the start time earlier and earlier.

    You can now have a drink before church, if your into that sort of thing. I mean "church" *drops mic

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    What is this 'we'? You are still in high school.

  • Tul­pa||

    And you're still utterly ignorant of science.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Since when does YOU being in high school prevent you from drinking or voting?

    Poor Bacaulum.

  • Libertarian||

    Wow. The state has "allowed" local governments to *allow* us to buy alcoholic drinks, up to and including 11:00 a.m. on Sundays. I've never felt so free!

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Brunch is a garbage meal for millennials too lazy to get up for breakfast.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I think it's just an excuse to drink during the morning. For people too afraid to just drink during the morning like I do.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Get a flask full of whiskey like a man!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Crusty likes his whiskey the way he likes his men.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Cheap and Canadian?

  • Tul­pa||

    Sockpuppety and named Sparky?

  • Tony||

    It's hard to argue for the culinary value of home fries, but it's also hard to argue against having someone else mix your hair of the dog on Sunday morning.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Is this the new intern? If so, you have an incredible name. Please report only on goings-on in the South, and start calling your stuff the Billy Binion Bogland Broadcast.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Bogs are a northern thing, BUCS. There are very few bogs south of the Mason-Dixon line.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I didn't have a good B word there. Billy Binion is a good name. Reminds me Captain Marvel's alter ego. Billy Batson.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Dollars to doughnuts, if the new intern lives in Georgia, he lives in ATL.

  • Tony||

    Morning used to be my favorite time to drink because it felt kind of subversive. Turns out that's one of the latter steps on the path to alcoholism.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It feels really good. I love Irish coffee for the reason. Both alert and kind of drunk is a great place to be.

  • Tony||

    I sometimes make a tall vodka and red bull on Saturday mornings because coke is hard to come by.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Is this cocaine or coca cola?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I am sure he meant both.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I don't really care about either, personally. Seems more likely cocaine as cola tends to be an easy one. The few times I've done cocaine though have certainly been good. I won't knock it.

  • Tony||

    You just want to make sure it's only around for special occasions so you don't go ruin your life.

  • ||

    That doesn't account for the impact on individual servers and bartenders, who will pocket more tips thanks to higher tabs and to patrons who might be, well, happier than usual.

    Talk about being on the right side of an issue for the wrong reason. The only goal of legislative reform should be enhanced liberty. I am not sure if Kathleen Bremer is saying that or Billy Binion but one of them seems to think the money I will now be spending on mimosas is going to appear out of thin air rather than come from my drinking budget the other 6 days of the week.

    Unless one really thinks people are going to increase their productivity to increase their alcohol consumption on Sundays.

  • awildseaking||

    If only public drinking could be legalized too.

  • SIV||

    It used to be legal in a lot more places than it is now.

  • Juice||

    Right? Growing up in New Orleans, it was a common thing to go to the park with a cooler full of beer. Can't do that most places. For all I know, you can't do it in New Orleans anymore.

  • IceTrey||

    I miss go cups and drive thru bars.

  • Dillinger||

    thank you oh heavenly state legislature, for all was wrong until you bestowed upon us the right to imbibe on a Sunday wtf.

  • IceTrey||

    You shouldn't have to ask the government to run a business much less serve liquor whenever you want.

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