Liquor drink license up for grabs in Danville

Published 6:01 am Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The liquor license previously held by Cue on Main has become available for someone else to acquire.

The state Alcoholic Beverage Control office advertised in The Advocate-Messenger on Monday that it will now be accepting applications for a quota retail drink liquor license in Danville for 30 days.

Danville ABC Administrator and Codes Enforcement Director Bridgette Lester said Tuesday the license previously belonged to Cue on Main, a restaurant that closed in the summer of 2017.

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“You know how they say the wheels of justice move slowly? Well, the state ABC office moves slowly,” Lester said. “… I don’t mean that in a bad way — they have to (deal with licenses) across the state, and they have to advertise them, so it takes a while.”

The license that is now available allows the holder to sell alcoholic beverages by the drink without having minimum seating or meeting a requirement of having at least 50 percent of sales from food. Lester noted, however, that many quota license-holders will still meet other requirements concerning food or seats so that minors can be allowed on the premises.

Restaurants such as Applebee’s and Cheddar’s have non-quota liquor licenses. There is no limit to how many non-quota licenses may be obtained in any one area, but license-holders must meet seating and food-sales requirements, Lester explained.

Currently, Lester said there are four businesses in Danville actively using quota retail drink liquor licenses: Liquor Barn; Jane Barleycorn’s Market and Bar; Bluegrass Pizza and Pub; and Danville Bowlarama Lanes and Restaurant.

One license is also currently tied up in a lawsuit, she said.

Danville has a total of six quota liquor drink licenses, which is determined by population. Cities that allow liquor sales are allowed one quota drink license for every 2,500 people living in the city. The state ABC office uses U.S. Census population estimates obtained through the University of Louisville, which pegs Danville’s population at 16,802. The city would theoretically gain a seventh quota drink license if its population reached 17,500.

According to previous statements from Lester, applicants must file with the city and the state; the city then verifies to the state which applicants meet all the local requirements. If no one files an application during the initial 30-day window, the license will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If there are multiple applications filed during the 30-day window, it will be up to state Distilled Spirits Administrator Trina Summers to determine which applicant gets the license, according to previous statements from state ABC Commissioner Christine Trout.

Summers would request economic impact statements from the qualified applicants, and those statements would play a big part in the decision, Trout said.

There are other factors that could go into the decision as well, laid out in state law.

“A license may be denied by a state administrator for any reason that the administrator, in the exercise of the administrator’s sound discretion, deems sufficient,” the relevant law reads.

The factors that could be considered include “potential for future growth;” the “number of licensed outlets in the area;” the “financial potential of the area;” the “type of transportation available;” the “type of area involved;” and “public sentiment in the area,” according to state law.