Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 23, 2013

High Spirits

Negotiating with ABC is whiskey business, but city officials have nothing to wine about

(Continued)

Somerset —

For Somerset, Kentucky ABC chose five of each type of license — 17 notices of intent to apply had been received by the Commonwealth Journal — even though Girdler felt the area could support more. 
Additionally, because the ABC chose smaller liquor retailers, including both local entrepreneurs and national drug store chains Walgreens and Rite-Aid, and did not approve Liquor World — a high-volume retailer ready to make a multi-million dollar investment that the city was counting on — the city stands to lose $150,000 a year in fee revenue, according to Girdler.
As such, Somerset took steps toward convincing the state to allow more liquor store licenses, based on the county’s population and regional market potential, particularly as a tourism hub thanks to Lake Cumberland. In the past, Girdler suggested that the city could realistically support two to four more liquor stores than the state currently has allowed access to licenses.
One move the city took was to file a complaint against the state in Pulaski Circuit Court, calling the process behind the quota number set by the state “arbitrary and capricious.” 
Last week, however, Girdler told the Commonwealth Journal that the legal action was being taken off the table, because of the state’s reception to Somerset’s request. 
“(State officials) have agreed to work very closely with the city to accomplish not only the possibility of increasing the number (of quota licenses allowed to Somerset), but better cooperation in implementing the ordinance and economic factors that we want as part of the process,” said Girdler last week.
On Friday, Girdler told the Commonwealth Journal that he expected the state to make a “quick decision” and that he and other Somerset officials felt “very positive about it,” and that he thinks “we’re to be well-pleased with the results.”

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