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Alcohol on the Ballot in Georgia and Washington state

Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 12:02 pm

On Nov. 8, many Georgia municipalities voted for the ability to buy beer and wine in stores on Sundays.

In Washington the vote was to take alcohol sales out of the states hands and privatize the industry.

In most Georgia communities that voted on the Sunday sales issues, the vote was overwhelmingly for Sunday sales. In Washington, voters chose by a wide margin to take the state out of the alcohol business.

The Georgia bill allows local authorization and regulation of sales of alcoholic beverages on Sunday — of only malt beverages and wine by retailers from 12:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m., according to the Georgia General Assembly.

In an August interview with The Shelby Report, Kathy Kuzava said that after 22 years working for the Georgia Food Industry Association, that the passage of SB-10 was the biggest achievement of her career.

She added that the GFIA worked closely with the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores and “were the lead lobbyists over the past five years, trying to get this bill passed,” she said. “This issue has been something that customers have asked the grocers for, for many years and we were just very pleased to finally be able to deliver what the customers have been asking for.”

According to the GFIA, 127 jurisdictions in all corners of the state voted on Sunday sales referendums.

As of Nov. 9, the GFIA is still in the process of finalizing a list of cities and counties that passed Sunday sales referendums on Nov. 8. A preliminary count shows that voters overwhelmingly approved of local control reflecting the intent of the original legislation. There were 105 municipalities that voted “yes,” 21 that voted “no” and one was not available.

In Washington, voters decided by a wide margin — 60 percent of the votes — to allow private liquor stores. By June 1, grocery stores in Washington will be legally allowed to sell liquor.

Initiative 1183 was heavily supported by Costco Wholesale. The Seattle Times reports that Costco recently dumped another $8.9 million into its liquor privatization initiative, bringing its total contributions to more than $22 million, according to the Public Disclosure Commission.

Last year, Costco contributed $4.8 million to the campaign for I-1100, which also sought to privatize the state’s liquor business and deregulate the system in a way that alcohol distributors don’t like.

—In Moorestown, N.J. voters said, “yes” to alcohol sales in the Burlington County town. The vote has been rejected three times before, www.nj.com reports.

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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