Commonwealth Journal

Local News

February 25, 2013

City appears to be on its way to alcohol license deal with state

Somerset —  

It’s said that loose lips sink ships. Sometimes, those “ships” may take the form of agreements between government agencies.
As the City of Somerset works toward its goal of expanding access to retail liquor licenses for applicants, Mayor Eddie Girdler is saying little about how the process is going. 
Still, Girdler’s use of the word “positive” has to be encouraging for those business owners still awaiting their already-approved liquor licenses — and those who would like to join the fray.
“We’re in very positive discussions with the state ABC offices,” said Girdler. “So far, it’s been a very cooperative effort between the city and state ABC. They are working with us to mutually resolve the issues.”
In January, it was revealed that the Kentucky ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control)  Office had selected five businesses to fill the allotted quota Retail Liquor Package licenses for stores to sell distilled spirits and wine (as opposed to beer, which is already sold at an unlimited number of local retailers). 
Among them were two national drug store chains — Rite-Aid and Walgreens — and three smaller-scale businesses: Apple’s Wine and Spirits, First Stop Party Supply and Package Store, and Wildcat Beer, Wine, and Spirits.
Passed up was Liquor World, a high-volume liquor retailer with stores in Richmond and Manchester, which had plans to invest $5 million in a renovation of the North Plaza shopping center, which would also likely include a national chain restaurant.
It was that kind of economic investment that Girdler was hoping for and believed that the state would grant the city — but it didn’t happen. Girdler’s response was to both send a letter to the Kentucky ABC requesting that they work out a deal to allow Somerset more than the five liquor store licenses the state allotted. 

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