Voters to decide Sunday alcohol sales Nov. 6

Published 10:41 pm Monday, October 22, 2012

Two weeks from today, Dallas County residents will vote on a referendum that could authorize Sunday alcohol sales in Dallas County. Above, Curtis Jackson organizes and stocks the shelves with beer and wine coolers at Calhoun Foods in preparation for the Nov. 6 vote. -- Katie Wood

For Dallas County the November general election ballot will hold more than the names of the presidential candidates; residents will also be able to vote yes or no on Sunday alcohol sales county wide.

“I’ve been asked about Sunday sales for years,” Steve South, general manager at Bama Budweiser said. “The surrounding counties around us already have it.”

South said if people in Selma or Dallas County want beer on a Sunday, they get it, just not here.

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“Right now if someone thinks people [in Dallas County] aren’t buying beer on Sunday, all they have to do is drive to the top of the hill in Benton on Sunday at 12 o’clock, and go look at all the Selma cars there,” South said. “They’re driving to Wilcox County, they’re driving to Perry County. People are getting beer.”

The money that people spend on beer on Sunday is money that Selma needs, South said.

“Selma’s giving away a lot of tax money, and I guarantee Selma needs it,” he said. “It’s going to Lowndes County, Wilcox and Perry. Any account that buys beer [from us], we send the tax money directly to those counties or those cities.”

According to the Tax Foundation, Alabama has the second highest state beer excise tax rate in the nation at $1.05 per gallon. Alabama only trails Alaska by two cents for the nation’s highest tax on beer.

“Sunday sales usually represents a four to six percent increase, which would be more money the county and the city would get from us, as far as tax money,” South said.

In an effort to spread the word on the Sunday sales on the November ballot, South said he has put up four billboards and had yard signs put up.

“This is important for us,” South said. “If Selma passes this Sunday sales, they can basically guarantee that Bama Budweiser of Selma will be in this town forever.”

While South said Sunday sales are important, he said he’s not trying to sway anyone’s vote.

“It’s one of those things — we’re not asking people; we’re not trying to sway them, even though we need them — it’s up to them, whether they vote yes or vote no,” South said. “We wanted it on the ballot for the people to have a chance to vote.”

If passed, Sunday alcohol sales in Dallas County would be permitted from noon to 9:30 p.m. Currently, Wilcox County allows alcohol sales throughout Sunday, while Perry County allows sales on Sunday after 2 p.m. Lowndes currently allows Sunday alcohol sales after noon.