Alpharetta’s alcohol changes and who they benefit

Tonight Alpharetta’s Council approved several significant changes to its alcohol ordinances. Several of the changes came at the request and/or benefit of a handful of businesses in the city. Here’s a rundown of the changes.

Sorry Grandma, but I'm gonna have to see your ID

Carding Grandma - Previously Alpharetta’s code required that EVERYONE produce identification, regardless of how old they were, before being served a beverage. This resulted in uncomfortable situations where old ladies were asked to show ID for a glass of Chardonnay at dinner. Even talk show host Neal Boortz ridiculed Alpharetta for this law. The city has completely removed this requirement, reverting back to the state law governing sale to those under 21.

“Adult Playpens” - Rules regarding outside consumption at restaurants have been relaxed a bit. Previously restaurants had to construct fences around areas where folks could drink. These so-called “adult playpens” may no longer be required.

Wine Bars - This change came at the request of Avalon, specifically their future tenant Cru Wine Bar. Its seems Cru would have had a tough time conforming to the 50% food ratio required by restaurants selling alcohol. Wine bars will have a lower threshold of 40% of sales being food.

Drinking outside at Avalon - The city now allows for outside consumption of alcohol at certain large mixed-use developments. These rules don’t apply to all mixed-use developments, only those that are zoned for 200 houses, 300 hotel rooms, 500,000 square feet of offices and 350,000 square feet of retail. It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see that this is for Avalon.

Drinking at Whole Foods? - There is a provision that might allow for consumption of alcohol at certain large supermarkets. The rules state that eligible supermarkets can’t sell tobacco or lottery tickets. That rules out Publix, Kroger and Walmart but Whole Foods would qualify.

Bigger samples at growler stores - Growler stores can now offer or sell four ounce samples, limited to 16 ounces total. The samples can be of growler beer or as part of an education class. Blind Murphy pushed for this change and is the only growler store in town currently offering such classes.

Growler stores will also be allowed to sell 16 ounce plastic cups of beer from their stores at city-sponsored downtown events. But only growler stores located in the downtown district are eligible. That means currently this change benefits only, you guessed it, Blind Murphy.

The city also passed changes to rules governing outside events with alcohol and those who might carter such events.

Photo credit: Steve Jerman (creative commons)

8 Responses to “Alpharetta’s alcohol changes and who they benefit”

  1. wondering July 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Did Michael Cross vote?

  2. jana July 17, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    Maybe we should have a taxi service with the out lines of Roswell – Milton – John’s Creek and Alpharetta sitting at the several locations that can offer “tastings”.

  3. A July 18, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    Off topic, but related to Alpharetta City Council. This article is exactly why I’m skeptical of Avalon:

  4. S Lee Guy July 18, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    @A – I first wrote about that here:

  5. A July 18, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Lee-I did read your post about it and was thinking how badly Alpharetta and Fulton County are being screwed. I don’t drive by the site on a regular basis so don’t know if any actual building has taken place yet.

  6. Will July 18, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    No buildings yet. But they’ve done a ton of earth moving in the last few weeks. Most of it on the North side of the property.

    They’ve built a parking lot for the workers, there’s at least 25 cars there every day.

  7. Parker July 19, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    Just another example of government intrusion with council changing the rules to favor their favorites. While they’re boosting their Avalon buddies, the rest of the business community is left out. These are the same people who campaign for office as conservatives. True conservatives would not be using government to pick winners and losers, but would let the consumer market do the picking.

  8. Mike July 19, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    @Parker…what changes would the rest of the business community like to see?

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