FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Forsyth County officials are considering an update to the county’s alcohol ordinance that would allow delivery of wine, beer and spirits directly to homes. The Board of Commissioners discussed the possible allowance at its Oct. 13 work session.
A bill to allow home delivery of alcohol was introduced before the state Legislature in February, with a final version passing by significant margins in the House and Senate. Gov. Brian Kemp signed the measure into law in August.
The new law still allows local officials to decide whether to allow home delivery of alcohol within their jurisdiction, and Forsyth County officials are set to take the matter to a vote in the weeks ahead.
The law permits retailers of wine, beer or spirits — including package stores, restaurants supermarkets and convenience stores — to make residential deliveries. However, the county’s breweries, brewpubs and distilleries are not be permitted to make residential deliveries.
Deliveries can be made to customers who are at least 21 years old who have an “account maintained by the packaged goods retailer” and who can present valid identification upon delivery. The person making the delivery must be 21 or older with a valid Georgia driver’s license who has undergone a background check, including driving records.
County Attorney Ken Jarrard said Forsyth is already planning to retool its alcohol ordinance, but that process will likely take a significant amount of time, likely not occurring until next year. He suggested commissioners forge ahead with a vote on delivery before the overhaul, adding he has heard support for the measure within the county.
Commissioners were in favor of bringing the issue to a public hearing, possibly in December. Commission Chairwoman Laura Semanson said she did want to have “conversations with law enforcement” during the process.
Many cities and counties across the state, including Forsyth County, have permitted the to-go sales of alcohol from restaurants within their COVID-19 emergency regulations. Though county officials are in the process of rolling back some of those allowances, commissioners appear to be on board with continuing to-go alcohol sales from eateries.
The state’s move to allow alcohol home delivery is the latest in a string of loosening restrictions on alcohol sales in Georgia and locally in recent years.
In 2018, Forsyth County residents voted by a near two-thirds margin to approve earlier sales of alcohol on Sundays, beginning at 11 a.m. instead of 12:30 p.m., in the so-called “Brunch Bill” referendum. Cumming residents were shut out of the vote in 2018 due to city officials missing the deadline for adding the resolution to that year’s General Election ballot. The issue was placed on the 2019 ballot, and 58 percent of voters were in favor of earlier Sunday alcohol sales.
In 2017, the state permitted certain breweries and distilleries to sell alcohol directly to consumers, both for on-site and off-site consumption, a boon for such businesses who call Forsyth County home.