Thirsty metro Atlanta residents stood in a line stretching out the door of the Beer Growler in Avondale Estates on Sunday, Nov. 20, waiting for the chance to buy beer.
Avondale was one of the first cities in the metro area to enact Sunday retail sales of alcohol after residents passed a referendum on Nov. 8 allowing it.
Paul Thompson, a history professor at North Greenville University in South Carolina, said in a recent report online that he thought Georgia’s ban on Sunday sales could go back as far as colonial times.
“My guess is this is the first time in Georgia’s history that this has ever been allowed,” said Thompson, who is working on a book on the temperance movement.
Co-owner of the Beer Growler Paul Saunders said it was busier than they could have ever expected on Sunday. Saunders said from the time the store opened at 12:30 p.m., there was a steady stream of around 50 people in line until they closed that evening.
“We actually ran out of beer,” Saunders said. “Originally we had scheduled two people to work and by the end of the day we had our entire staff there.”
The Beer Growler sells “growlers” or quarts of draft beer that are sealed in a jug and sold for retail—customers are able to take a distinct draft beer home with them rather than spending time at a bar.
“We sold 1,200 growlers yesterday,” Saunders said. “I think some people wanted to be part of history. We had a countdown and Mayor [Ed Reiker] was here and he was the first person to buy one.”
As Decatur resident Kristin Frazier stood in line holding two empty growlers, she said being able to purchase alcohol on Sundays would help cities financially and be cheaper for residents.
“It was a really silly law; you can go to a restaurant and buy alcohol there on Sunday,” Frazier said. She also pointed out that it might be safer too because now, residents wouldn’t have to go to a bar if they wanted a drink on Sunday.
Avondale City Manager Clai Brown said the city was quick to go through the steps allowing Sunday sales because it wanted to be progressive and friendly to business owners in the area.
Most cities had to make slight changes to their ordinances for sales to take effect and most in DeKalb are projecting to begin Sunday sales over the next few weeks.
“I’m happy for the business owners because you know how the economy is today and anything that can help them put additional revenue in their pocket [helps],” Brown said.
Sales will go into effect in the city of Decatur on Nov. 27 and cities including Doraville (Dec.1), Dunwoody (Dec. 1), Clarkston (Dec. 6), Stone Mountain (Dec. 6) and Chamblee (Dec. 25) will follow over the next few weeks.