“The Kentucky Revised Statutes provide the Local ABC Administrator with the authority to first approve applicants for liquor package licenses and further provide that the City Administrator can set regulations for the issuance of city licenses that are no less stringent than the regulations of the ABC for the issuance of state licenses.
“Local Administrator Nick Bradley, with input and approval of the Somerset City Council, went to great lengths to enact an Alcohol Ordinance that emphasized factors such as jobs, payroll tax revenues, property investment, location, and long-term growth for liquor package license applicants. However, the ABC denied the City the opportunity to apply these criteria to the nine applicants for the licenses that the ABC determined to be qualified. The criteria, if any, applied by the ABC prior to the issuance of five state licenses is not known at this time.”
Following the June, 2012 vote by Somerset citizens to allow legal alcohol sales within the city limits, Somerset had big plans for the expected liquor stores in town, including a proposed $5 million investment by regional business Liquor World to not only locate in the North Plaza shopping center but renovate it and even bring in a chain restaurant interest.
Instead, the ABC issued licenses to three smaller-inventory stores — Apple’s Wine and Spirits, First Stop Party Supply, and Wildcat Beer, Wine and Spirits (though the city has noted that the latter was more in line with their expectations) — and two pharmacy chains with a limited supply, Rite-Aid and Walgreens.
The city felt that the ABC didn’t take their needs and economic forecast into consideration, and even held up issuing licenses to some of the above businesses while they tried a two-fold approach to working out a deal for more licenses — both through the courts and more directly.