F’ville loosens its drink sale rules
Fayetteville is making it easier to get a drink in more places and for longer hours.
The City Council on Sept. 20 made a number of changes to the ordinance regulating alcohol sale and consumption. The amendments brought several changes, including those pertaining to serving times, events selling alcohol, new types of businesses approved for sales and the percentage of alcohol to food sales required of restaurants. The council voted 3-1 to approve the amendments.
One of the amendments allows alcohol to be served until 1 a.m. every night of the week. The ordinance previously required those sales to end at midnight on Saturdays and Sundays.
Another new provision allows wine tasting events and educational classes. Director of Community Development Brian Wismer said such events have become popular in some communities around the state and can be an effective tool for non-profit fundraising.
Another new amendment deals with businesses selling “growlers,” a large bottle sealed from a malt beverage tap and sold to the public for off-premises consumption. Wismer said stores that sell growlers specialize in craft and micro-brewed beer that can be largely unfamiliar to the general public. The ability to offer samples has been shown in other communities to be an effective way to promote sales of such offerings, said Wismer. Like wine tastings, the amendment would allow for sampling in conjunction with potential purchases, Wismer added.
Yet another change dealt with the percentage of alcohol-to-food sales in restaurants, cafes and dining facilities. The old standard required that 75 percent of sales come from prepared foods. The amendment decreases the requirement to 60 percent food.
The council’s vote on the ordinance changes was 3-1. Councilmen Larry Dell, Ed Johnson and Mickey Edwards voted to approve the measure while Councilman Walt White was opposed. Councilman Paul Oddo chaired the meeting in Mayor Greg Clifton’s absence.
Commenting prior to the vote, White said, “It’s more like people would rather drink than eat. More drinking, longer hours ... it’s a big change.”
Wismer in advocating for the amendments said the changes will be beneficial to the city’s economic development and recruitment efforts and will allow certain businesses in other communities to now consider Fayetteville in their expansion plans. It also furthers the goals that are defined in the city’s ongoing plan for the Main Street Historic District, Wismer added.