Mimosa lovers could be enjoying their drinks a little earlier on Sundays now that Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has signed Senate Bill 17.
Known as the Brunch Bill, the new law signed Tuesday gives local municipalities that already have Sunday alcohol sales the option to decide through a ballot referendum if they would like to roll back Sunday on-premise consumption sale hours from 12:30 p.m. to 11 a.m.
Communities who do not currently allow Sunday alcohol sales will be required to have two ballot referendums. One to vote Yes or No to implement Sunday sales and another to decide if their local time will be 11 a.m. or remain 12:30 p.m.
In order for the referendum to appear on the November ballot a resolution or ordinance needs to be passed by city and or county governments by July 31. Reached for comment after the signing, Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach’s Chief of Staff Martin Sullivan said the mayor is in support of giving the citizens the option to vote and looks forward to having discussions with council in the coming weeks.
Karen Bremer, CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association, said the passage of SB 17 will help level the playing field with state-owned facilities and private clubs who are already allowed to serve before 12:30 p.m. as well as increase the state’s economic competitive advantage with other states that can already sell before 12:30 p.m.
“Passing a brunch bill would have a huge economic impact on the restaurant industry and the state of Georgia,” she said.
“More food and beverage sales equal more tax revenue for the state of Georgia and more jobs.”
Brian Huskey with the Gaslight Group, which owns several spots around Savannah, including b. Matthews’s eatery, The 5 Spot, Blowin’ Smoke and East End Provisions, said the changes would be significant to his restaurant group.
“Three out of five of our locations will be directly impacted and we’re excited about it,” Huskey said.
While it’s a little early to know exactly how much extra revenue this could bring to restaurants, the GRA estimates it would generate an extra $25,000 a year, which is an extra $480.77 on Sundays.
“Multiply (the Sunday amount) by three or four and it’s really significant. Especially in times when we’re trying to scrape and strive for extra revenue,” Huskey said.
Bremer said there are about 4,000 restaurants in Georgia that could benefit, which could yield a total of $100 million extra in revenue and at 11 percent total taxes, $11 million more in taxes.
“By having the world’s busiest airport and hosting large-scale events including the 2019 Super Bowl and potentially the World Cup, we are now on par with other cities to host and provide social opportunities for out-of-town guests,” she said.
Aside from monetary benefits Huskey said the changes will also help out his staff in other ways on Sundays.
“A lot of people, especially downtown with bachelorette parties, girl’s weekends and just visitors in general, come to town and might have brunch or breakfast on Saturday and are able to get a mimosa or screwdriver, but then they come in on Sunday and they can’t. They sometimes get upset with us, but this is the law, so it’ll take a little pressure off the staff, too,” he said.