Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nelson County Approves Sunday Sales. Shouldn't You?

As predicted two weeks ago, Nelson County has followed its county seat, the city of Bardstown, in legalizing alcohol sales on Sunday. The county ruling covers unincorporated areas as well as any municipalities that do not already have their own contrary rule.

The full story is here.

Bardstown calls itself the Bourbon Capital of the World®. Slowly but surely, they are starting to act like it.

Like many states, Kentucky lets local jurisdictions set their own rules about alcohol sales, including prohibiting them entirely. Some people equate that with Prohibition but it isn't quite that because it only deals with sales. Possession, transportation and use are all legal and the local jurisdiction can't do anything about that.

The definition of 'local' varies by state, but Kentucky's law allows Louisville to let something as small as an individual voting precinct outlaw alcohol sales within its boundaries. The neighborhood I used to live in used that to get rid of a bar they didn't like, called Mother's, that happened to be the only bar in the precinct. It was replaced in the space by a music store that kept the name.

Chicago has the same sort of thing. According the The Encyclopedia of Chicago, nearly one-fifth of Chicago's more than 2,700 precincts restrict the sale of alcohol.

In an economy like the one we have now, issues like this start to shift. What's worse for a neighborhood's vitality? Bars and liquor stores, or empty storefronts?

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