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Alcohol laws loosening

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Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 10:25 am | Updated: 10:32 am, Wed Nov 6, 2019.

When Southern Brewing Co. Monroe opened a few weeks ago in downtown, it was the third downtown establishment serving alcohol to open in 2019.

More are on the way, as the city has approved a microbrewery license for Major Humphreys Brewing Co. Silver Queen is applying for a liquor, beer and wine license this week. 66% of voters approved the so-called "Brunch Bill" in Monroe in this week's elections, which allows for Sunday alcohol sales at 11 a.m.

Part of the booze boom was Monroe recreating its rules around alcohol in early 2018. 

Other cities also have changed their alcohol rules in the past year. 

Loganville rewrote its booze rules to try to attract more restaurants.

Social Circle approved open container in specialized cups this spring, and approved its third downtown establishment, Sacred Grounds, for a beer and wine license.

More places selling beer, wine and liquor seem to be on the horizon in this area. Not every government has the same rules, which will affect what sort of establishments might arrive, where they might locate, and how patrons can interact with them.

Here’s a rundown of the rules each of Walton’s four biggest governments has in place governing sales ratios, open container, distance requirements, and microbreweries and distilleries.

Monroe

• At least 50% of sales in all establishments serving beer, wine and liquor must come from sources other than alcohol.

• Open container is permitted in downtown in specialty plastic cups, but not elsewhere.

• Places serving alcohol cannot be within 100 yards of a church or school, except in the downtown district, where there are no distance requirements.

• There is a separate license for microbreweries and microdistilleries, which allows for sales of beer or liquor without the sale of food, if that beer or liquor is produced on the premises. There is also a special license for brewpubs, which allows for production and sale of beer on location, but food must also be served.

Loganville 

• In the downtown district, establishments can make 75% of sales from alcohol. Everywhere else its 50/50.

• Open container carrying is prohibited.

• Places serving alcohol cannot be within 100 yards of a church or school, except in the downtown district, where there are no distance requirements.

• No special license for microbreweries or microdistilleries, but some on the city council have expressed interest in creating them.

Social Circle

•  For places just selling beer and wine, 75% of sales must come from other purposes, plus it must make more than $100,000 in food sales every year. For places selling liquor, it’s 60%, with a minimum of $150,000 in food sales.

• Open container is permitted in downtown in specialty plastic cups, but not elsewhere.

• All establishments must be 100 yards from a church or school. There are no exceptions in downtown.

• No special license for microbreweries or microdistilleries.

Walton County

• At least 50% of sales in all establishments serving beer, wine and liquor must come from sources other than alcohol.

• Open carrying is prohibited.

• Places serving alcohol cannot be within 100 yards of a church, school or rehab center.

• There is a special license for brewpubs, which allows for production and sale of beer on location, but food must also be served.

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