Almost seven months after Whitesburg residents voted overwhelmingly in late June to expand alcohol sales from restaurant-only, officials with the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in Frankfort have issued two retail liquor package licenses for city businesses.
Rite Aid pharmacy and Big Daddy’s Liquor Barn LLC — located on opposite ends of Whitesburg — will be allowed to sell wine and liquor in Whitesburg. Although Rite Aid does not have liquor and wine in stock yet, its license is now active.
Big Daddy’s Liquor Barn LLC, which is owned by Sandy and Steve Hammock of Whitesburg, will be located near the old Larkey’s Chevron gas station at Ermine. The Hammocks do not have a building and the license will not become active until the store is ready to open.
Nathan Jones, spokesperson with Kentucky Department of ABC in Frankfort, said applicants don’t have to have a premises built to apply for a license or to be issued a license. It is common for applicants to have a lease contingent upon being issued a license.
Two other businesses, East KY Discount Tobacco and Beer and Fuzzy’s Liquor and Beer, had also applied for liquor package licenses.
Jones said the ABC’s distilled spirits administrator visited all of the sites, talked with local officials and looked at the needs of the community and the strength of the applications when making the decision as to who would be issued liquor licenses.
The number of liquor package licenses available in a town is set by law and based upon current popula- tion figures, said Tony Dehner, distilled spirits administrator, in a letter to Whitesburg Mayor James W. Craft.
“After having carefully reviewed all applications, a decision has been reached,” Dehner said in the letter.
Craft emphasized that the City of Whitesburg did not make the decision.
“The important thing is they (the state) made the decision,” said Craft. “We didn’t have anything to do with it.”
Rite Aid was issued the city’s first retail beer license on October 12. Food City, Walmart, East KY Discount Tobacco and Beer, Fuzzy’s Liquor and Beer and Tobacco Partnership have all been issued retail beer licenses. Dollar General Store is in the process of applying for a retail beer license.