Heres something both Democrats and Republicans can agree on:
A bipartisan coalition of Mecklenburg County legislators introduced a bill to the N.C. House making sure visitors to the Democratic National Convention can guzzle with gusto after getting off the plane.
The bill would keep the Alcoholic Beverage Control stores in Mecklenburg County open on Labor Day Monday for this year only.
The holiday exception means local stores wouldnt be closed for two days in a row so restaurants, hotels and caterers could stock up on spirits ahead of thousands of convention arrivals. The DNC runs Sept. 4-6.
Whatever we can do to make the process smooth for members of the national media and members of the national political community visiting Charlotte, said Rep. Bill Brawley, a Republican from Matthews and one of the sponsors of the bill. I think good manners require us to do that.
Primary sponsor Ruth Samuelson, also a Republican, was joined by Democrats Becky Carney and Beverly Earle in sponsoring the bill.
The states alcohol control system requires ABC stores to close on Sundays and five holidays, including Labor Day.
The local ABC board asked lawmakers for help after hearing concerns from Charlottes food and beverage providers. They were worried about stocking enough alcohol on their premises to make it around those ABC closures.
They need to get restocked if they have a good Friday, a good Saturday, said Cleveland Edwards, chairman of the countys ABC board, explaining the proposed one-time-only Labor Day opening.
And, if we can make a little money in the process, Edwards said, thats great.
All that spirited sipping could bring a big boost in sales that week perhaps to the tune of an additional $800,000 to $1 million on top of typical sales, said Paul Stroup III, CEO of the local ABC board. Stroup said that estimate is based on alcohol sales during this years CIAA convention.
Alcohol sales had a direct impact on Denvers bottom line during the 2008 convention. Sales and use tax revenues, which includes liquor purchases and other items, jumped nearly $1.2 million, according to a city report.
Earle said she expects the bill will pass easily. But some might be offended by the prospect of all that imbibing.
Of course, youre going to have people that are totally, totally against alcohol consumption, Earle said.
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