• County leaders to vote on North Carolina's 'Brunch Bill' this week


    MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. - North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill into law that will allow cities and counties to move up sales times for beer, wine or mixed drinks.

    The new law is already making rapid progress.

    People in Mecklenburg County could be sipping on mimosas before noon on Sundays by next weekend.

    County leaders are scheduled to vote on North Carolina's Brunch Bill next week.

    If it is approved, alcohol could be sold in stores and restaurants in unincorporated parts of Mecklenburg County on Sundays starting at 10 a.m.

    That means cities, including Charlotte, would still have to pass their own Brunch Bills

    City Councilmember Kenny Smith asked the city manager and city attorney to get the bill passed by next month’s PGA Championship in Charlotte.

    It’s just a matter of city leaders scheduling a vote and passing it.

    Other towns and cities across the state are getting a jump on serving alcohol earlier on Sundays.

    Raleigh approved the Brunch Bill Wednesday, and Carrboro was the first to approve it earlier this week.

    Mayor Jennifer Roberts said she supports brunch freedom.

    [LINK: Senate Bill 155]

    The measure also targets distilleries by letting them sell five bottles a year to distillery tour visitors, up from one currently and bypassing further the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control stores.

    At the new Charlotte restaurant Factory Cafe, there's one drink customers always ask for during Sunday brunch.

    "They like the mimosas," said owner Jackie Land. "Everyone wants a mimosa.” 

    Land said being able to pour one for customers at 10 a.m., instead of at noon, could bring more people through the door earlier on Sundays, when business can be slow. 

    [RELATED: Mimosa with Sunday brunch? Senate OKs so-called 'brunch bill']

    "Customers just don't come in. They want a drink before 12, so it kind of affected our brunch schedule," said Land.

    This isn't just for liquor-by-the-drink in restaurants, but also for beer and wine sales in stores.

    “This is a sad time for North Carolina,” said the Rev. Mark Creech of the Christian Action League. "The measure that was approved last night will unquestionably do more to proliferate and expand the sale of alcoholic beverages at the expense of the public's health and safety."

    Rev. Creech said the bill is disrespectful to churches, because the current law allows them to finish their services before drinks are served. He says church ministries are vital to help people whose lives are ruined by alcohol.

    "While those folks are celebrating getting their mimosa at 10 a.m., there are going to be all sorts of harms that are related to this," said Creech.

    Land respects her customers, whether they want an early drink or not, but she thinks they should have the option.

    "We all have the freedom of choice. So why not?" she said.

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