SHEPHERDSVILLE — Officials in Bullitt County have approved Sunday alcohol sales at local distilleries, making it the last county on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to do so.
The Fiscal Court vote allows two bourbon distilleries — Jim Beam and Four Roses — to offer sampling and souvenir packages from noon to 6 p.m.
Magistrates also approved an ordinance that extends the sale of wine and allows sampling at licensed wineries during the same hours on Sundays. The county has four wineries.
The 3-2 votes last week came after magistrates heard arguments from supporters and opponents, according to The Courier-Journal. The ordinances went into effect immediately.
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Supporters of the proposals said they would benefit the county economically, while opponents argued they could be burdensome to taxpayers.
Jim Morehead, director of U.S. manufacturing for Jim Beam Global Spirits, urged county leaders to pass the ordinances. He said Jim Beam has been in the area for 216 years and is building an $18 million visitors' center in Bullitt.
"We're in a highly competitive industry," he said.
Kentucky Distillers Association president Eric Gregory said the six distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which stretches from Bullitt County to Lexington, attracted 400,000 visitors last year. He said 200,000 are expected to visit the Beam visitors' center annually when it opens.
Sundays "are one of the most popular travel days of the week," said Troy Beam, a descendant of Jim Beam and director of tourism for Shepherdsville and Bullitt County. Sales already were allowed on other days.
Pastors of two area churches spoke against the proposals. The Rev. Tom Wofford said he didn't support it because he is opposed to alcohol and thought increasing its availability would become a burden on taxpayers because it could lead to a need for more law enforcement.
Winery owner Mike Hatzell disagreed, saying Sunday sales should bring more tax revenue and tourism dollars into the county.