Statesboro City Council voted 3-2 tonight to place a liquor sales referendum on the November 2, 2021 ballot. The referendum will put the question “to authorize the issuance of licenses for the package sale of distilled spirits” to the voters of Statesboro.

This gives voters the opportunity to decide whether they want to allow retail sales of distilled spirits (liquor package stores) inside the city.

Council members Paulette Chavers, Venus Mack and Phil Boyum voted to approve, John Riggs and Shari Barr voted to oppose the referendum.

Now the city will begin the process of developing ordinances to create the regulations and application process. If the liquor sales referendum is approved in November, the city would then set a date to complete the ordinances and determine when distilled spirits sales could begin.

Currently citizens are required to drive to an adjoining county to purchase liquor by the bottle. All counties surrounding Bulloch offer retail liquor sales.

Yellow are 12 remaining Georgia counties who are not completely wet

Bulloch one of 12 out of 159 Counties without Package Sales

Out of 159 counties in Georgia, all Georgia counties are fully wet, with the exception 12 listed below (on site means you can purchase liquor drinks at a restaurant or bar, retail sales means package stores):

  • Bleckley County prohibits the sale of distilled spirits for retail and on-site consumption.
  • Bulloch County prohibits the retail sale of distilled spirits.
  • Butts County prohibits the sale of distilled spirits for on-site consumption.
  • Coweta County prohibits the retail sale of distilled spirits.
  • Decatur County prohibits the sale of distilled spirits for on-site consumption.
  • Effingham County prohibits the retail sale of distilled spirits.
  • Hart County prohibits the sale of distilled spirits for retail and on-site consumption.
  • Lumpkin County prohibits the retail sale of distilled spirits.
  • Murray County prohibits the sale of distilled spirits for retail and on-site consumption.
  • Union County prohibits the retail sale of distilled spirits.
  • Upson County prohibits the retail sale of distilled spirits. The sale of distilled spirits for on-site consumption was approved by vote in May 2014.
  • White County prohibits the sale of distilled spirits for retail and on-site consumption (except for the City of Helen).

Senate Bill 145 Makes Referendum Possible

Bringing a referendum to legalize liquor stores in this way was impossible until May 4, when Gov. Brian Kemp signed Georgia Senate Bill 145 into law.

Before that law was passed, a referendum for liquor sales could only be initiated through a petition signed by at least 35% of the registered and qualified voters in a city or county.

Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar played a key role in his position with the Georgia Municipal Association in getting Georgia Senate Bill 145 drafted and passed.

DeWayne Grice

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...