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City Council Paves the Way for Growler Stores, Passes Other Alcohol Amendments

Amendments to the alcoholic beverage ordinances were passed after business owners approached Council about opening a growler store.

Smyrna City Council voted Monday to approve what City Administrator Eric Taylor called “the biggest overhaul we’ve had in our alcoholic beverage ordinance in quite some time.” Council approved several amendments to the city’s alcohol ordinance including one that allows for growler stores inside city limits.

Here's what the amendments permit:

  • Allow for the sale of malt beverage growlers at a package store.
  • Allow for the sale of wine by the glass at a package store for educational purposes.
  • Permit restaurant patrons to remove an unfinished bottle of wine for consumption off the premises, also referred to as re-corking.
  • Add a license for brewpubs.
  • Allow for extended serving hours, namely bars and restaurants can stay open till 4 a.m. with the purchase of an extended hours permit and businesses are now permitted to sell alcohol on Thanksgiving and Christmas.*
  • Adds language that conforms with state law allowing for tasting of distilled spirits at distilleries.

Council members unanimously voted in favor of all the amendments with the exception of extended serving hours. The amendment for extended hours passed 4-3 with Council Representatives Wade Lnenicka, Ward 6; Susan Wilkinson, Ward 5; and Charles “Corkey” Welch, Ward 4 voting in opposition.

Ward 2 Council Representative Andrea Blustein chairs the Alcoholic Beverage License Committee. She said Council was prompted to review its alcoholic beverage ordinances after several people interested in opening a growler store in Smyrna approached the city. A growler is a large glass container used to transport craft beer.

“Evidently there was a group that had asked about opening a growler store around this area,” she said. “That’s when we found out that we did not have an ordinance that would cover that.”

Smyrna’s Community Development Director Ken Suddreth said that Council used the opportunity to update other alcoholic beverage ordinances. Some of the amendments like the one concerning re-corking had recently passed at the state level, but needed local approval to take effect.

Blustein said the new ordinance gives Smyrna businesses an edge.

“I think for the existing businesses it gives them another avenue that they can use to attract clientele either growlers or maybe we’ll even get a brewpub to open up somewhere in the area because they are pretty popular,” she said.

What do you think about the overhaul? Where would you like to see a growler store? Tell us in the comments.

*Correction: Patch initially reported that the extended hours were until 2 a.m. on Sunday. The approved ordinance actually allows licensees to pour alcohol until 4 a.m. with the purchase of an extended hours pouring permit. A chart showing the changes has been attached to this story. Patch Local Editor Sydney Busby apologizes for confusion this may have caused. 

Tony Simon July 20, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I would like to see a growler store located in a new shopping center anchored by a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's at the corner of Atlanta Rd. and Spring / Concord Rd.
Dean Rogers July 20, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Whole Foods on Ponce sells beer by the glass. Last time I was there, I was walking around with a pint of nice hoppy IPAness. All these bored, midtown husbands were like, "Hey! Where'd you get that beer?" WF should've paid me commission. When I left, the line for pints was 4 deep.
Anita Norman July 20, 2012 at 06:11 PM
What the heck is a growler store? Lived over 50 years and have never heard that term!
Paul Smyrna July 20, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Just wait till they start getting complaints from the bars that stay open till 2am on Sunday night/Monday morning. It's already being advertised by one as the "biggest party on Sunday."
Brian July 21, 2012 at 09:15 AM
I think this will attract young people to Smyrna, because it will increase the "hip" factor, even if young professionals don't usually take advantage of their right to drink on Sundays.
Lexi July 21, 2012 at 11:29 AM
It'll give folks a place to go later on Sundays, more than likely it'll be busy with service industry people who don't want to travel to Decatur or Kennesaw after midnight. As one of those service industry folks that makes a living at one of those bars, I welcome the business. As for the growler store? Hopefully you won't have to look any further than the Smyrna Jubilee area, look out for Stout Bros.!!
Cathy Finck July 24, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Economic interests seems to trump public safety here. Good idea? You decide. Several CDC studies have shown the following results when increasing limits on hours of sales (alcohol); An increase in alcohol consumption, an increase in motor vehicle crash injuries, a shift in timing of motor vehicle crashes corresponding to the change in closing time, an increase in emergency room admissions, injuries, fighting, and driving while intoxicated, and an increase in alcohol-related assault and injury.
Paul Smyrna July 25, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Some of the bars are advertising they are open till 4am on Sunday night now. Is it 2 or 4?
Sydney Busby (Editor) July 30, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Hi Paul, I went back and checked with the city and it actually is 4 a.m. with the purchase of a special permit. I've posted a correction in the story above and apologize for the confusion. Thanks for reading, Sydney Busby
Paul Smyrna July 30, 2012 at 06:48 PM
That chart shows that they can serve till 4am on Saturday, which is a change. However, it doesn't show a change for Sunday at all or am I blind? The late hours permit reads Monday through Saturday, it doesn't mention Sunday.
jim October 23, 2012 at 03:05 PM
It is unfortunate that the City of Smyrna seems to believe that alcohol oriented businesses are the only way to grow the economy. That is short-sighted at best. It would be nice to see the city focus on building our community, not extending drinking hours.
jim October 23, 2012 at 03:08 PM
How does extending the drinking hours improve the economy in Smyrna? All it does is fill the coffers of the business hours, but it does nothing for the other stores and businesses in the area. And having more drunk drivers on the roads at 4 a.m. does not help with the community image of Smyrna. Safety and quality of life should be more important than more hours to drink.
jim October 23, 2012 at 03:11 PM
The ones staying late and drinking on Sunday mornings are not the young professionals you mention. Young professions want more than places to drink more. They want community-oriented activities and services such as a new grocery store, coffee shop, dry cleaner, and public gathering space. It is not all about more booze.
jim October 23, 2012 at 03:12 PM
It has already started. Sunday nights are now as loud as Saturday nights. Is this the vision we had for Smyrna?

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