Commonwealth Journal

News Live

October 27, 2012

No licenses for liquor stores are on the horizon


Somerset —

Bradley’s best guess was that more might be known by the middle of December.
A call to the state ABC office for further clarification was not immediately returned on Friday.
Businesses seeking non-quota licenses — or licenses that don’t have a cap on the number than can be given out — have gotten the ball rolling, however. According to Bradley, 14 beer licenses have been given out, including convenience stations and larger grocery stores.
Certain restaurants have been awarded licenses to sell beer and liquor licenses (this is similar to what Burnside already allows for restaurants of a certain seating capacity, and is different from the Retail Liquor Drink licenses, which primarily refer to bars). Mexican restaurants Casa Grande and El Charro have theirs, as does Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q, said Bradley. Ruby Tuesday and Tumbleweed are still waiting for theirs, as is J. Gumbo’s downtown, which is “in the situation of figuring out if they had enough seats to qualify” under the guidelines for a Restaurant Drink license.
The Restaurant Drink license allows for the sale of liquor and wine by the drink in restaurants with a seating capacity of 100 and food sales equal to 50 percent of gross receipts. Most casual dining chain restaurants would come under this description. 
As to why some restaurants have their licenses now and some are still waiting, Bradley said that factors include the order in which the businesses applied, whether or not they have all their paperwork “squared away,” and issues such as lease renewals, whether or not they have coolers and equipment yet, or certain business licenses.
“Some are just a little more turnkey than others, and some have things they still need to work through,” said Bradley. “Everything has to be there for the duration of that initial license. (A business) occasionally may have an instance where they need to redo a few things.”
Retail Liquor Drink licenses are also limited to a quota of five, though there have been far fewer applicants — only three to file notices of intent. Of those, the only already-existing business to apply, Briar Bowl, has a license, said Bradley.
“It’s obviously a much more difficult business,” said Bradley, “slower to get that business figured out and started.”

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