According to Kentucky law, the state ABC department gets to not only determine how many quota licenses a “wet” community receives, but which businesses should get them. As such, Kentucky ABC officials chose to give Somerset five such licenses, and chose applicants that Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler felt were smaller volume retailers than what he had envisioned for the city.
Since then, the city has launched an effort to convince the state to allow for more liquor store licenses in Somerset based on the overall market, with the idea that Somerset serves a much larger population than just those living within the city limits. Meetings with the state have been described as “positive” by Girdler, and the city expects to know more next week.
As part of Somerset’s stand for more licenses, however, they decided to delay giving four of the five applicants chosen by the state the city’s license — Apple’s, First Stop Party Supply, Rite Aid and Walgreens. Only Wildcat Beer, Wine and Spirits was seen by the city as being the kind of high-volume retailer they were focusing on to boost the local economy.
As progress is made with the state, however, the city is apparently ready to hand out the other licenses. Johnson said that Apple’s received its state license three weeks ago, and was just waiting on the final pieces to come into place.
“The city has worked the best they could with us to keep the lines of communication open,” said Johnson. “They had wanted work out some things with the (Kentucky) ABC, and we understand where they were coming from, and they understood where we were coming from.”
Despite the forced delay, Johnson feels like the relationship with city officials has been a positive one.
“Nick Bradley and the mayor did their best to try and make sure we could balance both sides,” she added. “We communicated with them, told them when we got our license (form the state) and when we got our inventory. So they worked really well with us.”