Commonwealth Journal

Local News

January 12, 2013

Mayor miffed over liquor licenses

Somerset —  

The saying goes that good things come to those who wait. Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler may take issue with that.
After a wait of about five months to find out which businesses would be selling hard liquor in Somerset, Girdler wasn’t exactly thrilled with the results. In fact, he plans on discussing the matter with the state to see what can be done to fix things.
“Let’s just say that consistent with the ordinance that was adopted after a long process with the city council, which we have successfully implemented so far, our position is that the economic impact, job creation and investment (the city was seeking) was not fully realized,” said Girdler.
“Somerset was not dealt a very good deal in terms of” the above factors, he added.
The Kentucky Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) determined that Somerset would be awarded five licenses for retail stores to sell distilled spirits and wine. While beer and malt beverages are sold at an unlimited number of stores, harder liquor — including bourbon, vodka, rum and the like, as well as wine — may only be sold by a certain number of licensed retailers, a “quota.”
The state ABC office also determined which applicants were awarded those five licenses — out of a field of more than three times that many. 
Among that number were two Kentucky-based large volume retailers — Liquor Mart, which operates stores in Richmond, Lancaster, and Danville, and Liquor World, which can be found in Richmond and as of 2011, in Manchester.
Neither was awarded a license. The state ABC office sent letters on Wednesday to two national pharmacy chain stores with locations in Somerset — Rite-Aid and Walgreens (fellow drug store CVS applied but did not receive a license) — and three local entrepreneurs.
Nathan Jones, spokesperson for Kentucky ABC, told the Commonwealth Journal that the process of choosing which stores were selected involved “the administrator” — which had been Danny Reed; he was replaced by ABC commissioner Tony Dehner only days ago — going to visit the local ABC administrator (Somerset’s is Nick Bradley). The visit would include touring the properties that would house the stores and discussing the needs of the community with local officials, according to Jones. 

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