Siler City voters on Tuesday chose to expand beer and wine sales within town limits by a slim margin.
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SILER CITY — Siler City voters on Tuesday chose to expand beer and wine sales within town limits by a slim margin.
On Election Day, voters had the option to vote for two referenda on beer and wine sales. Both won by similar margins — the vote for beer sales resulting in 385 (53.47 percent) votes for the measure and 335 (46.53 percent) against, and wine sales ending with 388 (54.27 percent) for and 327 (45.73 percent) against, based on unofficial election results from the Chatham County Board of Elections.
The Siler City Board of Commissioners voted in July to add the two referenda on the ballot after a request by the town’s Downtown Advisory Board and several downtown merchants. Previously, beer and wine sales were only allowed at hotels, restaurants and retail establishments such as grocery stores and gas stations.
Tuesday’s decision will allow other establishments such as tasting rooms or breweries to operate inside the town. Chatham County is considering the same for the 2020 primary election in March.
The vote means Siler City has alcohol laws similar to Pittsboro, where establishments such as 580 Craft Beer and House of Hops have thrived, bringing jobs and additional tax base into the community.
North Carolina ranks seventh nationally for the number of breweries that brew and sell craft beer in the state with craft beer sales creating an economic impact of $2 billion annually, according to the Brewers Association. The industry also creates about 12,000 jobs and $300 million in annual wages in the state.
The vote means that many of the storefronts in town may find a new industry to woo to town. Developer Wren Farrar, who is renovating numerous buildings in the downtown area, has spoken about the opportunity to bring a brewer and entertainment space to the area. The change to the laws governing beer and wine sales in town open the door to that possibility.
Jackie Adams, who made the original request of the town board in July as chairman of the Siler City Downtown Advisory Board, was pleased with the outcome.
“This will put Siler City on par to make headway in social and economic endeavors as other small successful N.C. towns have done already,” Adams said.
Reporter Casey Mann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.