Bourbon Countians that have a craving for their own Sunday bourbon may head to Paris if a proposed law passes.
The Paris City Commission held a first reading Tuesday for a law that would allow Sunday alcohol sales. The commission did not vote on the ordinance because first readings do not require a vote.
The proposed law would allow those with the appropriate licenses to sell malt beverages and distilled spirits by the drink from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Package sales would be allowed from 1 to 10 p.m. A special drink license must also be purchased for $300. The change would begin July 1.
Paris’ current ordinance allows alcohol sales from 8 a.m. until 1 a.m. the next morning Monday through Saturday. The new ordinance would allow sales to begin at 6 a.m.
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More than 50 people attended the Tuesday meeting, too many to fit inside commission chambers. Many of those attendees knew there wouldn’t be a vote on the ordinance but were wearing blue and red stickers showing support for it.
Dottie Spears, a Paris resident, supports the change. Spears said she based her opinion on the economics of Sunday sales.
“For businesses, like restaurants, to make it in a small town they need that seventh day of income,” she said.
If the law passes, that could lead to other stores opening up on Sunday, Spears said.
“(If) a restaurant is open, sometimes an antique store will open on Sundays,” she said.
Andrew Buchanan, head distiller of the Paris micro-brewery Hartfield & Company, said allowing alcohol sales on Sunday makes sense. Hartfield & Company is a stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, a tour showcasing Kentucky’s craft distillers. The company misses out on potential tourism dollars by being closed on Sunday, he said.
Not having “Sunday sales is not going to stop people from drinking,” he said. “It’s just going to force them to spend their money elsewhere.”
Nearby communities including Lexington and Georgetown allow Sunday alcohol sales.
Buchanan is aware there’s opposition to the proposed new law, but he doesn’t understand it. .
“I haven’t been told any rational reasons to be against it,” he said. “It’s all emotion- and experience-based. Which is hard to argue against.”
Residents that opposed the ordinance cited alcoholism and possible DUI deaths, according to Paris’ newspaper, the Bourbon County Citizen.
This is not the first time Paris has considered expanding alcohol sales on Sunday. In 2009, a similar ordinance was proposed and failed, Spears said. Public hearings were held on April 11 and May 9 where Paris residents voiced opinions about the new ordinance.
The next Paris City Commission meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 13, and a vote is expected to be taken on the ordinance.