Nearly eight years after Randolph County ended its era as a dry county, one more domino has fallen in the realm of local alcohol sales.
Late last week the state legislature passed a bill allowing the sale of draft beer and kegs in Randolph County. The bill was sent to Gov. Kay Ivey's desk for a signature Saturday and should be enacted this week.
The law was sponsored by Bob Fincher in the State House of Representatives and Randy Price in the Senate.
Fincher addressed the Randolph County Commission at Monday's meeting and provided details on the new law, which has three primary functions.
- It allows the sale of draft beer and kegs.
- It allows the purchase of draft beer for on-premises and off-premises consumption.
- It gives the county commission the authority to issue permits and licenses for sale of draft beer and kegs.
The law still prohibits any Sunday alcohol sales in the county, something Fincher said he insisted on before he would sponsor the bill.
The absence of draft beer and keg sales locally has been seen as an impediment to economic development in the county, which is what motivated the move.
Bryant Whaley, who is the director of the Randolph County Economic Development Authority (RCEDA), said many businesses have dismissed Randolph County as a viable location for their establishments because of the county's lack of draft beer sales. Places such as sports bars, breweries and even golf courses have been reluctant or unable to open here, but now they can give the county another look.
Fincher backed that up, telling the commission Monday, "This was done with an eye toward economic development in the future and putting Randolph County on a level playing field with surrounding counties in attracting these types of businesses."
The move could provide much-needed revenue for the county as well.
"This will generate revenue in Randolph County without adding a tax burden to the citizens of the county," Whaley said.
The law means that once permits are issued, liquor stores will be able to sell kegs to individuals, and restaurants and bars will have the option to sell draft beer for consumption at the restaurant or for take-home purchases.
The law states, "Beer sold for off-premises consumption may not exceed 288 ounces, per customer, per day," which is the equivalent of a 24-pack of 12-ounce bottles or cans, and it must be "sealed, labeled, packaged and taxed in accordance with state and federal laws."