House Bill 37 May Bring More Beer and Wine to the North Market
The North Market has long been a place where you can buy beer and wine… you just couldn’t drink it there. Last September, the Barrel & Bottle expanded their space to include a small bar area that would change that, allowing on-site consumption for the first time, though keeping it limited to the 1,100 square foot confines of their business space.
State Representatives Michael Stinziano and Mike Duffey want to change that.
The two introduced bipartisan legislation last week in the form of House Bill 37, which would allow North Market customers to consume alcohol purchased on site anywhere throughout the market premises. Proponents of the idea say that it would give the North Market a more even playing field with grocery stores that already allow for sip-and-stroll on-site consumption.
North Market Executive Director Rick Harrison Wolfe says that sip-and-stroll isn’t so much of a feature for customers, it’s more of an expectation.
“You can sip-and-stroll at Whole Foods and Giant Eagle and Kroger, and people expect that you can do it here too, but they’re surprised when it’s not an option,” he explains.”Adding this option is about remaining relevant and keeping up with the Joneses.”
Wolfe hopes that the ability to drink beer and wine on site will benefit all merchants at the North Market by adding to the weekday evening traffic. He wants customers to think of the North Market as more of an after-work option for shopping and dinner, noting that the legislation would allow for drinking on the patio on the east side of the building as well.
“Our North Market truly showcases the best of the best in entrepreneurship and I’m happy and excited to enhance the North Market experience for shoppers visiting there,” said Stinziano. “We should do everything we can to promote the small business people working here.”
The bill is expected to be assigned to a House committee for further study. No further timeline has been announced on when the changes may take place. Wolfe says that he hope is that the legislation would pass and take effect sometime this year.
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Update (2/11 12:05pm – More details added from Rick Harrison Wolfe.)