Monday, August 30, 2010

Wine and Beer.... the retail story

One of the most difficult and confusing things to understand about our wonderful state of Texas are our liquor laws, wet and dry areas, semi-dry areas, Unicards. At best it is very difficult to understand. Having not been brought up in Texas it makes it even more difficult. After owning a wine bar/restaurant for 7+ years it is no less clear today than it was then.

Let me try and explain: My state beverage license allows me, at Mercy, to serve beer and wine. The State license allows you to come in, buy a bottle of wine and drink it on premise or to take it home unopened, however, my city license does not. Currently the Town of Addison only allows a select number of liquor stores (Inwood Ave) to sell liquor, beer and wine for off premise consumption.

The city council, in their wisdom, undertook a 6 month project to look at this ordinance to see if it was time to amend it or change it. It set up a subcommittee to make a recommendation to the council. I had the pleasure to speak to the subcommittee as well as directly to the city council on several occasions on behalf of changing the ordinance to allow beer and wine to be sold elsewhere beside those retailers on Inwood. This past week the city council wisely voted to allow the question to go before the voters in November. This same issue is on the ballot for Dallas.

My argument to the city council was that we at Mercy bring in wines that are difficult to find at retail. Trying to differentiate ourselves and bring a unique experience to our guests. We bring these wines to our guests and develop the demand then we are compelled to send our guest to a retailer if they wish to purchase a bottle to take home. Most often the retailer is located outside of the Town of Addision.

Mercy looses revenue for wine selections that we have generated the demand for and the community looses tax revenue. It is my belief that this is a convenience that every citizen should have if they so choose.

There has been a great deal of fear mongering surrounding this issue. The opposition continues to talk about the increase in crime in the area should this happen. One doesn’t have to look very far outside our own back yard to see that this is just not the case. Many surrounding towns allow for this and people are not shooting each other in the streets because they can buy a bottle of wine in their local grocery store. Those towns that have allowed this are also seeing improved economic development and growth in their communities.

When this comes up for a public vote in November, we urge you to please consider voting for the change in this local ordinance, opening up the sale of beer and wine to retail establishments throughout the city. We encourage everyone to drink responsibly.

Glen Agritelley