Citizens of Breckinridge County voted to repeal their county’s 105-year-old prohibition of packaged alcohol sales on Tuesday.
Kathina Bell, the Judge Executive’s assistant for Breckinridge County, said a petition to change the county’s ordinance on alcohol sales was delivered on November 1, 2012.
After being verified by Judge-Executive Maurice Lucas and County Court Clerk Jill Irwin, the decision was put to a special vote, which was ordered for January 29, Bell said.
6,050 total votes were cast: 3,142 voted to repeal the prohibition, and 2,908 voted for the county to remain dry.
The vote will allow packaged alcohol to be sold in stores and restaurants, and Breckinridge County vendors will be required to apply for both a license to sell beer and a license to sell liquor, if they choose to do so.
In response to the vote, Don Brown, sports reporter for the Grayson County News-Gazette who owns a home on Rough River Lake, said, “I don’t drink often, but during the summer time I like to have a case of cold beer in the fridge. And to get it, I’ve always had to go up to Boston, which is about 40 to 80 miles away. Now I can go up to Petticoat Junction, which is only two or three miles away.”
In an interview with WXBC, a local Breckinridge County radio station, Judge-Executive Lucas said an unlimited number of beer-sales licenses will be issued, but only eight licenses for liquor-sales will be issued, and thus, the applications for liquor licenses will be reviewed under the most scrutiny.
Lucas said the process for retailers to receive licenses to sell packaged liquor and beer would not be immediate.
After the verification of the vote, county officials will have sixty days to implement the new ordinance, Lucas said. After the ordinance is established, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) will advertise that businesses may apply for beer and liquor licenses.
In addition, Lucas said the ABC will send representatives to Breckinridge County to offer training for county officials concerning beer and liquor licensing and further information regarding the process of shifting from a dry to a wet county.
The question remains, will Grayson County be next? Tim Clark, who heads the Citizens for Economic Growth (CFEG) committee in Grayson County and led the effort to pass Limited 100, said the CFEG will meet to discuss the impact Breckinridge County’s vote will have on Grayson County and release a public statement within the next week.