Does a mimosa before 12:30 p.m. make for a better Sunday brunch? Well, Georgia lawmakers sure don’t think so.
For the second year in a row, a “better brunch bill” that would have let Georgia restaurants sell alcohol earlier on Sundays failed to win passage before this year’s legislative session ended last month. Supporters have vowed to try again in January.
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know:
- Georgia formerly banned any sort of purchase of alcohol on Sundays in deference to the state’s once-powerful religious lobby, but lawmakers over the past several years have allowed Sunday sales at retail package stores and restaurants as long as they were made after 12:30 p.m.
- Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, blocked the brunch bill (House Bill 535) in his chamber, saying it would upset what he called a “fragile compromise” between legislative leaders and the faith community over allowing any sort of Sunday alcohol sales.
- Earlier pouring times on Sundays would produce almost $11 million in additional tax revenue for state and local governments, according to the brunch bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville. It’s worth noting that government-owned buildings — such as the Georgia World Congress Center or other convention centers — are already allowed to serve before 12:30 p.m. on a Sunday since the current restriction only applies to privately owned restaurants.
- At least 4,000 Georgia restaurants likely would take advantage if the law changed, according to Karen Bremer, the CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association.
- An $80,000-a-year increase — that’s how much Jay Kazlow, who owns Dantanna’s in downtown Atlanta, estimates he could earn with earlier pour times on Sundays on just the days when the Atlanta Falcons play home games near his restaurant.