Group asks city to allow Sunday sales for local microbreweries

Published 10:48 am Thursday, September 5, 2019

City officials voted to draw up an ordinance which would allow microbreweries and similar businesses to sell alcohol on Sundays in Winchester.

A capacity crowd spent nearly an hour before the Winchester Board of Commissioners Tuesday evening discussing the merits and concerns.

Abettor Brewing owner Tyler Montgomery said craft breweries and distilleries have become a tourism attraction in their own right throughout the region and the nation. Allowing those businesses to sell on Sunday would increase tourism and business throughout Winchester, not just Abettor.

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“I believe this isn’t just about our business,” Montgomery said. “It’s a progressive outlook for Winchester. What we’re really looking forward to is what this will do for tourism. This isn’t about one business. It’s about every business in Winchester.”

Laura Edwards Stone, whose family owns Harkness Edwards Winery in Clark County, said the county passed a similar ordinance earlier this year.

“It has been a game changer for our business,” she said. “Every person who comes to our winery, we send to Winchester. People come and they stop and they want to experience more. Most of my tasters are not from Winchester.”

“This is a huge opportunity for tourism,” said Ben Pasley representing Wildcat Willy’s, a distillery building in downtown Winchester. “They won’t just show up on Friday and Saturday. They’re looking for something on Sunday afternoons.”

Some saw the proposal as an opportunity to expand drinking hours with little benefit.

“I want Winchester to grow,” Tim Christopher said. “How much growth do you think we’ll receive from Sunday sales at microbreweries? Is this really the progressiveness we desire? What is it really going to add to the overall business?

“If you want to be progressive on this, say no.”

Commissioner JoEllen Reed said she could not support Sunday sales from her personal convictions.

“When I was on the fiscal court in 2013 when this came up, I was the one person who voted against Sunday sales,” she said. “I can not support this. I just can’t.”

The commission voted 4-1 for city staff to develop an ordinance for a future vote.

In other action Tuesday, the commissioners:

— approved street closure requests for three events within the next month.

— approved the second reading of the city’s tax rates for real and personal property. Burtner said the rate has not changed in 35 years.

— approved a resolution to recognize the Daniel Boone Heritage Trail as a Kentucky Scenic Byway.

— authorized installing two street lights on Linden Lane.

— released a penalty assessed to Catalent Pharma Solutions.

— awarded a bid to demolish a structure at 337 Hill St. to Houston Contracting for $6,800.

— approved the promotion of Winchester Police patrolman Dennis Briscoe to administrative captain.

— rescinded an order to hire Brandon Lizer as a firefighter/paramedic.

— accepted two resignations of patient transfer specialist/EMT Hamin Umar and firefighter III/EMT Ben Kaillin.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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