Commonwealth Journal

Local News

June 15, 2013

Mayor anticipates tussle over additional liquor licenses


Somerset —

The city felt that the businesses chosen, with the exception of Wildcat, were smaller than what was desired to help grow the city’s economic coffers through alcohol-generated revenue, and local officials actually delayed issuing city licenses until they felt they had made a sufficient case with the state to get more.
Now, Girdler is simply anticipating a Kentucky legislative oversight committee, a section of the Legislative Research Commission made up of members of the General Assembly, to meet and give the green light to the administrative rules approved by ABC, which would affect two dozen cities throughout Kentucky seeking to advance alcohol sales, including Somerset.
However, following an open records request submitted to the city on behalf of three local liquor retailers, Girdler believes the current stores want to block Somerset from being issued more licenses.
“It appears they are saying they don’t want any more competition,” said Girdler. “They have a monopoly on package stores and they want to keep it.”
Girdler confirmed that the two “chains” were not among those seeking to block the new licenses based on what he knows, meaning it would be the three locally-owned stores that were banding together for this purpose.
The Commonwealth Journal attempted to contact or left messages with ownership of those three stores this weekend, but was unsuccessful in reaching them or did not have messages returned by presstime Saturday.
The committee will meet in the first two weeks of July, according to Girdler.
State Rep. Ken Upchurch of Monticello (who represents parts of Pulaski County) told the Commonwealth Journal that he’s on this panel, the 2013 Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations. 
However, Upchurch said that it would be “premature to even speculate” on how the Somerset liquor licensing issue might be handled. 
“I’d like to see what’s on the agenda and what regulations (the state ABC office is) proposing,” he said.

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