Alcohol Regulation Roundup: January 26, 2010

Texas: Despite the fact the two-thirds of Dallas voters approved a ballot measure last November allowing grocery stores in the city to sell beer and wine (changing the rules in many “dry counties”), opponents of the measure are still fighting the issuance of licenses to sell alcohol! The group of liquor store owners and pastors filed a lawsuit in November to have the election results overturned. Luckily, a district judge said that they will not put a halt to the issuance of licensing while the lawsuit is still under consideration.

Alabama: Businessman Clay McInnis wants to open a brew pub and restaurant in Montgomery, but only if the laws are changed. While McInnis purchased a building downtown wants to split the levels and create three separate businesses: a restaurant, a brewpub, and offices. He also wants to be able to sell the beer produced in the brew pub to other restaurants. There’s a problem, though, because current law says brewpubs must also be restaurants with room for at least 80 patrons and that the beer made on-site cannot be sold elsewhere. McInnis’s ultimatum might just get legislators to reconsider the laws.

Georgia: The state might finally get a chance to vote on Sunday sales. After years of delays, the new governor said that he’d sign a bill legalizing Sunday liquor sales, so long as communities voted for it.

Kansas: A new group in Kansas, the Coalition for Jobs and Consumer Choice, which advocates for allowing grocery and convenience stores to sell full strength beer (currently not allowed in Kansas) released a study that says allowing grocery store sales could generate over 15,000 new jobs, $343 million in wages, and $72 million in tax revenue.

Mississippi: Currently in Mississippi, the amount of alcohol allowed in beer is capped at five percent by weight. Proposed legislation in the state House and Senate would boost that to eight percent. Those in favor of the legislation say if the cap is raised, gourmet beers with higher alcohol contents could be sold in the state.

Nebraska: A bill introduced by state Senator Russ Karpisek would prevent restaurants, bars, and liquor stores from selling alcohol to 21-year-olds until 6am on the day after their birthday. The reason is to prevent the dangers of “the power hour” when newly minted 21-year-olds drink as much as they can in the time between 12am on their birthday and when the bar closes. I suppose birthday boys and girls are apt to drink less if they wait until the following evening to binge drink in celebration.

Pennsylvania: Republican lawmakers in the Keystone state are inching closer to the exciting prospect of privatizing Pennsylvania’s onerous state-owned liquor control system. The GOP representatives are reportedly considering contracting for an independent study to get an idea of how privatization would impact the state’s revenue.