New Georgia alcohol laws help business owners - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New Georgia alcohol laws help business owners

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By Sarah Baldwin - bio | email

June 30, 2008

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -   Diners who enjoy having a glass of wine with their meal may now be more apt to buy a whole bottle when out to dinner.  "A lot of them may have been hesitant because they didn't want to consume the whole bottle at the time of their meal. This way it allows them to cork it and take it with them," said Victor Mitchell, owner of Fishbonz Restaurant in Thomasville.

The new law states that if the customer has consumed part of their bottle of wine, they can take it home if it's securely resealed and placed in a locked trunk or glove box inside a bag or container with a dated receipt.  "You pay $20-30 for a bottle of wine, and most people drink half a bottle, they purchase it they need to bring it home with them. Because again, things are pretty expensive and if you pay for it you deserve to keep it," said Mike Gammons.

Restaurant owners hope the law will help their wine sales.  "We already do about 60% wine sales per table now, hopefully it will help us increase that," said Mitchell.  

Another law giving Georgians freedom with their alcohol: limousine services will be able to sell alcoholic beverages to their customers.  "I think it will make it easier, simpler, more convenient for the consumer," said Gammons.  

Convenience seems to be key. Georgians can now buy wine on the phone or over the internet from wineries.  As long as the person who signs for the delivery can prove their of legal drinking age.

So what do Georgians think of their new buying privileges?  "I think Georgia's keeping up with the times. What people need to really realize is you got to be careful with alcohol and driving," pointed out Gammons.

Some say the laws will only help, making consumers not in such a hurry to finish that bottle of wine before they leave. 

A new DUI law also goes into effect tomorrow that will extend the window in which DUI offenses are counted. The old law allowed the courts only a five year window to capture DUI offenses before handing down stiffer punishments; the new law gives the court ten years to count a drunk driver's convictions. The 4th DUI becomes a felony.

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