Commonwealth Journal

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June 15, 2013

Mayor anticipates tussle over additional liquor licenses

Somerset —

According to Mayor Eddie Girdler, not everyone is excited about the prospect of Somerset getting more liquor store licenses.
Mayor Eddie Girdler said Friday that the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has recommended approval for five additional Retail Liquor Package licenses to be allowed for issuance in Somerset.
However, he also stated that he expects several local stores to try and prevent this from happening so as not to lose any business from incoming competitors.
The city has been lobbying the state for the additional licenses, as far back as January of this year, when local officials learned the state ABC had only approved five such licenses for Somerset. 
Retail Liquor Package licenses, which are granted to those wishing to open stores that sell wine and distilled spirits by the package, are what’s known as a “quota” license, meaning a limited number are set for each city. (Malt beverages and beer are allowed an unlimited number of licenses, which is why they’re common in groceries and convenience stores around Somerset.) The state office also selects which applicants should receive those licenses for each community.
Girdler, Somerset ABC Administrator Nick Bradley, and legal counsel made a presentation to state alcohol officials this past spring hoping to convince them a city of Somerset’s size could support more than five liquor stores.
Part of the reason for the appeal was because of the stores the state chose for Somerset. High-volume retailers like Liquor World, which had planned on making a $5 million investment to revitalize the North Plaza Shopping Center in Somerset, were passed over, and two pharmacy chains (Rite-Aid and Walgreens) and three locally-owned stores (Apple’s Wine & Spirits, First Stop Party Supply and Package Store, and Wildcat Beer, Wine, and Spirits) were awarded the licenses. 

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