arshall County went through a huge transition over the last year with the addition of adult beverages sales.
A July 2015 referendum allowed alcohol sales across county limits for the first time in 77 years, and months later, fiscal court members approved the final version of an ordinance that included language regulating Sunday sales, perimeters around schools and churches, and the number of licenses allowed within the county.
Marshall County Alcohol Beverage Control Administrator Scott Brown was hired soon after the vote on the ordinance last fall, and hit the ground running divvying out licenses. Nineteen malt beverage retail licenses, six retail drink licenses, five malt beverage drink licenses and eight retail package store licenses are currently active in the county, according to the ABC website.
Brown said regulatory fees, which are basically taxes, collected on the alcohol sales are calculated quarterly, with the first quarter bringing in about $49,000. The second quarter, which included the busy summer months of May, June and July, more than doubled the first quarter revenues by bringing in more than $100,000.
While the vote only passed by a slim majority and a number of people were still expressing opposition into the regulation phase, Brown said he has not encountered any significant issues since the sales got into full swing.
"We had a few little administrative issues, political stuff, but it was nothing major at all," he said.
Businesses like J's Steakhouse in Benton and the Brass Lantern in Aurora have reaped benefits from adding alcohol sales to their menus. Lakefront establishments like Kentucky Dam Marina and Moors Resort & Marina have also added spirits to their sales, but owners have said they have not seen a huge spike in revenue for the summer as a result.
This year was the first the new law has been in effect, though, and Brown said it may take a little longer to see the long-term results.
"This was the first year and we kind of started shooting in the dark," he said. "It's hard to know where we stand, we're trying to figure out highs and lows."