In 2017, state lawmakers approved Senate Bill 155 allowing local towns, cities and county governments to vote on the Brunch Bill, a measure allowing the sale of malt beverages, unfortified wine, fortified wine and mixed beverages beginning at 10:00am on Sunday’s instead of 12 Noon.
Several Johnston County towns passed legislation in 2017 approving the Brunch Bill including the Town of Smithfield.
Johnston County Commissioners took no action on the Brunch Bill in 2017 but county administrators say they have received a number of requests recently from merchants in unincorporated areas of the County for the ordinance to be considered.
Commissioners have set a public hearing on Monday, July 9th at 6:00pm to gather citizen comment on allowing alcoholic beverage sales before noon on Sunday’s at licensed premises.
Proponents, including restaurants, manufacturers and the tourism industry, say Sunday morning alcohol service will benefit the county’s small business community, bring people into business districts earlier in the day, and increase tax revenues.
Opposition is primarily on moral and religious grounds. Some believe Sunday morning alcohol sales are insensitive and disrespectful to churches whose services often go to 12 Noon. Also, there are concerns about people driving under the influence if they begin drinking in a restaurant on Sundaymornings, and would be less likely to appoint a designated driver.
North Carolina and 47 other states now allow alcohol to be sold before noon on Sunday’s.