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Explaining Centre’s new Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance

Feb 10

As most people know, The City of Centre passed Ordinance number 11-271, the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance (ABO), on January 25, 2011. The Ordinance is approximately thirty pages in length and, among other things, details the City’s policies on the possession, sale, and consumption of alcohol with Centre’s city limits.

 The ABO’s main goal is to outline what type establishments can sell and/or serve alcohol and where alcohol can be sold and/or consumed. To accomplish this goal, the ABO breaks down requirements by business class. There are several different types of business classes defined in the ABO. The main allowed classifications of establishments are as follows:

 Class I Club – An organization with at least 150 “paid-up” members organized for national, social, patriotic, political, athletic, or other non-profit purposes. A class I Club must maintain a “special space or accommodations” where food is habitually served. It must have regular meetings, be operated by elected officers, and collect dues from its members.

 Class II Club – Similar to a Class I Club, except it must have at least 100 “paid-up” members. Also, a Class II Club is not required to have a “special space or accommodation” where food is served. 

 Convenience Store – In common terms, a “gas station” that has no more than 25% of its floor space dedicated to the sale of alcoholic beverages.

 Grocery Store – Self explanatory; however the grocery store’s alcohol sales must be less than 10% of its annual income and it must have at least 10,000 square feet of floor space.

Hotel – includes motels, but excludes rooming or boarding houses.

Hotel Lounge – must be within a hotel that has at least 25 rooms or units. Alcohol sales must constitute no more than 20% or the total receipts of the hotel. Further, the lounge must be at least 500 square feet and be equipped with tables and chairs to seat at least 25 people at one time. No one under 21 may enter.

Package Store – a store dedicated to the sale of alcohol for off-site consumption. It must have at least 500 square feet of floor space open to patrons, and cannot sell grocery or clothing items. Further, it must have at least $5,000 of inventory at all times. No one under 21 may enter.

Restaurant, Class I – Must have at least 1,000 square feet, equipped to seat at least 50 people at one time. The kitchen must be separate from the dining area, but must be connected to the building. It must serve at least 2 meals a day for at least 5 days a week. The gross receipts from serving meals in any 90 day period must constitute at least 50% of the total gross receipts of the business.

Restaurant, Class II – Similar to a Class I Restaurant, except it must only serve one meal a day for each day it is open. Also, the gross receipts from serving meals in any 90 day period must constitute at least 35% of the total gross receipts of the business.

After defining several different types of approved establishments, the ABO works to explain where these businesses may be located and when they can serve or sell alcohol. Generally, no business approved for on-premises consumption of alcohol may be located less than 200 feet from a church, school, or child development facility. Likewise, no business approved for off-premises consumption may be located within 150 feet from a church, school or child development facility. However, when the business has a Class I or Class II Club, or Class I Lounge Liquor License it must be no close than 2,500 feet from a church, school, or child development facility. These distances are measured from the closest wall of the church, school, or child development facility to the closest wall of the business. Further, if any business serves alcohol outside its building, for example on a deck or patio, a fence no less than 6 feet high must surround the area.

Businesses approved for on-site consumption may serve alcohol from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 a.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. on Saturday. However, alcohol may be sold up to 2:00 a.m. of New Year’s Day, regardless of what day of the week January 1st falls on. Off-site approved businesses may serve from 12:00 a.m. Monday to 2:00 a.m. the following Sunday.

The ABO also makes it very clear that it is unlawful for any approved premises to have topless or bottomless servers, dancers, performers, etc.

The ABO contains several other important points to numerous for this article. If you are interested in obtaining a full copy of the ordinance, you may pick one up at the City Hall in Centre, Alabama. If you are planning on applying for a license, it may be in your best interest to have an attorney review your business plan and the ABO.