As I told you earlier this week, my family rarely goes to brunch unless I'm traveling. I went to brunch locally a few weeks ago on a Sunday in downtown Raleigh and ordered a bloody mary. I ordered that drink for a few reasons. Personally, I love the tomato-based, spicy cocktail. I rarely drink them so it was a treat for me. Also, mimosas and bloody marys are a traditional part of a brunch menu. I was at Pizza La Stella to help promote the restaurant's brunch menu for future visitors to N.C. That's what I do. I market experiences.
I rarely drink an alcoholic beverage during the day. But, if I'm traveling then I escape the ordinary. My travel days become extraordinary and special. Had I arrived at brunch before noon that Sunday, I could not have ordered a mimosa or bloody mary due to ABC Beverage laws until 12:01 p.m. But, that could change if a new law is passed. The North Carolina Brunch Bill is a pending legislation that would empower local governments to allow restaurants to serve alcoholic drinks two hours earlier, at , on Sundays. HB 460, otherwise known as the Brunch Bill, would update North Carolina’s existing ABC laws to provide a high-demand service to the state’s residents and visitors.
North Carolina's hotel and restaurant caters to travelers. By allowing alcoholic beverages to be sold at 10 a.m on Sunday for brunch would increase revenue tremendously for this industry.
Blue laws, banning certain things on Sunday for religious reasons, are quite controversial. And in some cases, it's not just alcohol that is banned. It's also pots and pans. Sometimes, cars. It varies from state to state.
As a person who encourages visitors to our state, I am an advocate for the hotel and restaurant industry. I like options. If I am dining for brunch at 10 a.m, I may stick with coffee, but I like to be given the choice and freedom to order what I want especially if I am traveling or attending brunch for a special occasion.
Jim Beley, the General Manager of the Five-Star Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, North Carolina offered some insight from the hotel industry.
"I think our morning meal period volume would pick up significantly if we were permitted to start alcohol service at instead of . What I see as fair within the bill, is counties can opt-in to the service of alcohol if they choose to do so. I am a Christian man, who would not think of drinking any alcoholic drink or meal prior to my attending our Church services morning. I think most feel the same as I do; if your intent is to attend and worship in Church, no drink will stop you."
Beley says that many of the guests of the Umstead are out of state visiting for a family occasion of a graduation, wedding, Easter or special day. He says these guests are often disappointed to hear that they cannot serve any alcohol until 12:01 pm.
The wedding industry has the biggest impact on the restaurant's Sunday volume. He stated, "most weddings are held nights followed by a morning meal for the family. We are regularly asked why we cannot offer Bloody Marys or Champagne and orange juice with their meal; some respond with “that’s ridiculous.”
The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge in Charlotte, N.C. also supports the NC Brunch Bill. "Our top priority is to deliver exceptional service to our guests, many of which visit us from out of state, and we want to meet their needs," stated Peter Grills, General Manager. "The ability to serve alcohol earlier on Sundays would provide more options for our guests, which is always a benefit."
What's your opinion? To ‘Free the Mimosa’, stand behind the Brunch Bill by signing the petition at www.ncbrunchbill.com and spreading the word to reach NCRLA’s goal of 10,000 signatures. You can also join the conversation on social media by using #FreeTheMimosa.
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