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Enough signatures collected to put local option election on ballot

Microbrewery in Salado, maybe after November

Salado initiative to put beer, wine sales on ballot meets deadline

Salado aldermen will consider at their Aug. 12 meeting an Ordinance calling for a November local option liquor election after a local couple turned in a petition with more than 500 names on it requesting that the election be called. 

Salado voters may have two local elections in November, including a local option election for the legal sale of beer and wine.

Graydon and KD Hill are hoping to open a microbrewery in Salado, but must first get over some legal hurdles, chief among them being the onerous regulations of the sale of beer and wine in the Village of Salado.

By local elections, the Village of Salado allows the legal sale of alcohol under certain circumstances, a microbrewery wanting to sell beer and/or wine for on-site and off-site consumption not being one of them.

For example, you can drink wine in a winery and take wine home from that winery thanks to a 2003 amendment to the State Constitution. That amendment has helped the wine industry in Texas to blossom in recent years as wine tourism grows in popularity. There are strict regulations on wineries about where their grapes are harvested. The majority of grapes vinted must be from Texas in order to meet the standard of being a Texas winery.

After the Village of Salado incorporated, local restaurants banded together to get the requisite signatures for an election to allow for the sale of mixed drinks in restaurants.

Shortly after that, Brookshire Brothers was able to expand into a new location after voters approved a measure allowing for the off-premise sale of beer and wine, which opened the door to convenience and grocery stores to get into the alcohol-selling game.

In May, voters overwhelmingly approved a measure spearheaded by Robert Dudezcka for the the legal sale of alcohol for off-site consumption, In that May election, 441 voted in favor and 225 voted against.

The newest proposed measure could be called for the November election provided that Graydon and KD Hill have collected enough signatures (354) to put the issue on the ballot. 

The Hills turned in a petition with 509 signatures on it at the end of business on Aug. 5, the deadline given to them by the city in order for the signatures to be verified in time to be put on the 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 Board of Aldermen agenda. They needed 354 verified signatures. After verifying that there were the required number of signatures, the issue was added to the agenda for Aug. 12.

The Aug. 12 meeting is the last opportunity for the issue to be called by aldermen in order to be put on the November ballot.

The petition calls for the legal sale of beer and wine, which allows the sale of beer and wine for both on-site and off-site consumption. 

Currently, the sale of beer and wine is allowed for off-site consumption. Restaurants can sell beer and wine for on-site premises under their mixed drink licenses. But the on-site sale of beer and wine in an establishment that does not meet the minimum standard of 51 percent of all sales being food is not allowed in Salado. Hence, there are no beer halls or wine bars.

The measure being proposed could change that, but it comes short of a measure that would allow for “The legal sale of all alcoholic beverages including mixed beverages

There are 10 local option elections allowed in the state:

•“The legal sale of beer for off-premise consumption only.”  Beer in a grocery or convenience store.

• “The legal sale of beer.”  Beer in a grocery or convenience store AND beer in a bar or restaurant.

• “The legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only.”  Beer, malt liquor and wine in a grocery or convenience store.

• “The legal sale of beer and wine.” Beer, malt liquor and wine in a grocery or convenience store AND beer, malt liquor and wine in a bar or restaurant.

• “The legal sale of all alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption only.” Beer, malt liquor and wine in a grocery or convenience store AND beer, malt liquor, wine and distilled spirits in a liquor store.

•“The legal sale of all alcoholic beverage except mixed beverages.” Beer, malt liquor and wine in a grocery or convenience store AND beer, malt liquor, wine and distilled spirits in a liquor store AND beer, malt liquor and wine in a bar or restaurant.

• “The legal sale of all alcoholic beverages including mixed beverages.” Beer, malt liquor and wine in a grocery or convenience store AND beer, malt liquor, wine and distilled spirits in a liquor store AND beer, malt liquor, wine and distilled spirits in a bar or restaurant.

• “The legal sale of mixed beverages.” Beer, malt liquor, wine and distilled spirits in a bar or restaurant.

• “The legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food and beverage certificate holders only.” Beer, malt liquor, wine and distilled spirits only in a restaurant.

• “The legal sale of wine on the premises of a holder of a winery permit.”

The sale of wine at a winery.

Currently, the Village of Salado has approved the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption, the sale of mixed beverages by food and beverage certificate holders only and the legal sale of wine on the premises of a winery permit and the sale of all alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption only.

According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, “Following the demise of Prohibition, local communities maintained the right to choose whether to legalize the sale of alcoholic beverages. Many communities decided to remain “dry” or “partly dry,” which meant that alcohol sales were banned or restricted. Many communities conducted elections and voted to legalize the sale of alcoholic beverages. Those communities who were ‘wet’ prior to Prohibition automatically reverted back to their original status.”

In the past century and a half, Salado has come a long way from this description from a U.S. soldier in July 1869 referring to Salado as being “impressed upon my mind as being the first teetotal, ‘sure enough,’ ‘total abstinence’ village that I ever visited.”  

One has to wonder if that soldier would recognize Salado today.