Pulaski Countians looking to pick up some bubbly to take home for New Year’s Eve will once again have to go out-of-town to do so.
While convenience store beer sales have been plentiful, and local restaurants are starting to get into the alcohol business as well, there’s been no sign of liquor stores on the horizon yet.
And, as far as Nick Bradley, Somerset’s ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) Administrator knows, there’s no timetable for when locals might start seeing them.
However, having stores that are able to sell wine, champagne, vodka, rum, and other harder liquors in a retail setting is unlikely to happen by the end of the year, he said.
“That would be too optimistic,” said Bradley. “None of those stores would be turnkey (or with a ready-to-use facility). It would be quite a bit of work for any stores that might get those (licenses).”
That’s largely because the state ABC office is tasked with sorting out just which businesses will be awarded the coveted “Retail Liquor Package” license, which is considered a “quota license.” That means the state sets a specific number of licenses of that type that can be given out; for Somerset, the selected number was five.
However, 13 different entities have filed notices of intent with the Commonwealth Journal to seek the Retail Liquor Package license, allowing them to sell wine and hard liquor. So the state is busy sorting out those applications currently.
Contributing to the delay is the fact that several other Kentucky cities have held “wet”/“dry” elections this year, or expanded their legal alcohol sales, suggested Bradley.
“There are so many cities going through this right now,” he said. “Whenever we get the word from the state as far as any kind of decision (more could be said), but we just don’t know much of anything at this point.”