Independence Day marks the start of alcohol sales on Sunday in two Alabama cities.
Package stores, convenience stores, restaurants and groceries in the cities of Cullman and Good Hope can begin selling alcohol on Sundays starting on Independence Day, The Cullman Times reported.
The launch isn’t likely to immediately fuel municipal coffers, according to Cullman officials. Rather, it’ll provide an incremental bump in alcohol-related tax revenues, while retaining Sunday sales market share inside Cullman County.
More importantly it will afford local businesses an extra day to make money while opening the door to new ones that otherwise might not consider Cullman as a location destination, said Susan Eller of the Cullman Economic Development Agency,
“For the cities, it’s going to be a smaller amount of revenue, because you’ve got more than one city permitting it,” said Eller, who also sits on the city council at Good Hope and helped pass Sunday sales into existence there. “But you do open the door for restaurants to look at us that would not have, until now.
“It also helps the businesses we already have,” she added. “In Cullman, our local restaurants were hit with COVID-19, and some had to shut down for longer than they’d anticipated. They really worked to find ways to retain their sales during that time, and when they finally did open up again, they faced an employment issue with being adequately staffed. We’re hoping that, by giving them an extra day, it will help them see some additional profit.”
The push to amend local ordinances to allow Sunday sales was largely spurred by local owners. Christine Chamblee, who owns Dreher’s Cocktail Bar & Restaurant in Cullman, was among the owners who approached the Cullman City Council with the request.
Now that the law has changed, Chamblee said she plans to begin hosting Sunday brunch at her restaurant — complete with a slate of themed cocktails from the bar.
“That’s the plan for sure,” she said. “We’re excited about it; brunch is my favorite. It’s great for other businesses, too; really the whole area. Sundays are typically big family days; shopping days, and a lot of people go to Birmingham or Huntsville from here if they also plan to stop and eat; have a drink at a restaurant or pick up wine from a store.
“This is a great way to keep those sales here, not only at restaurants, but at grocery stores and gas stations.”
Eller said early estimates have shown that an extra day of alcohol sales isn’t likely to bring unprecedented tax revenues onto already-robust alcohol funds at both Cullman and Good Hope. The numbers won’t be known until the sales start coming in, but Cullman, for example, can expect to see a 10-year revenue boost of just more than $100,000, split between its liquor tax and sales taxes, by making alcohol available an additional day.
“It’s not a ton of money, and it’s hard to pinpoint these kinds of figures until we have some real numbers to inspect,” Eller said. “But we’re hopeful that it will be a boost to our existing businesses, and that it’ll help Cullman be in the middle of the conversation when new restaurants start showing an interest.”