Rick Howlett

Voters in Barren County and three Butler County have voted to allow alcohol sales.

In Barren County,  4,651 people to expand alcohol sales, while 4,418 voted against it. That's a difference of just 233 votes out of more than 9,000 cast.

The group Move Barren County Forward led the support for turning Barren County wet.  They said money being spent on liquor in other areas will now stay in Barren County.

Before Tuesday’s vote, Cave City had voted to go wet and alcohol sales by the drink were allowed in certain restaurants in Glasgow.

Metcalfe, Adair and Russell counties all voted to go wet this year.

It wasn’t a county-wide vote in Butler County, but the towns of Morgantown, Woodbury and Rochester all approved alcohol sales Tuesday night. Butler County voted to stay dry in January.

Blake Farmer/Nashville Public Radio

Jack Daniel's is a historic brand built on stories and legend. To this day, all of the whiskey is made in the hills of little Lynchburg, Tenn. And as part of its 150th anniversary, the company is highlighting a lesser-known part of its story: how a former slave played a key role in its founding.

The story of Nearis Green first got national attention earlier this summer, when The New York Times ran an article about his role in Jack Daniel's history based on a pitch from the company.

Until now, the story usually told about the firm's founding was this: Jack Daniel left home as a young teen, went to work for Dan Call — ironically, a pastor — and ended up helping with Call's whiskey. That's where he learned his trade — perhaps under the tutelage of Green, who was then a slave belonging to Call.

It's not clear exactly what parts of the process Daniel's picked up from Green. "There's a lot of mystery there," says Jack Daniel's company historian Nelson Eddy. "We don't know exactly what he taught Jack. But we do know that Jack had a great deal of respect for that family. Because I think the best part of this story is the photograph."

The photograph he refers to is one that shows Jack Daniel, with a gray goatee, around 1895, surrounded by his crew, including two African-American men believed to be the sons of Nearis Green.

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Voters in the small Daviess County community of Maceo  have voted to allow the sale of alcohol.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports only about 12% of eligible voters cast a ballot Tuesday with the final result being 63 for and 51 against.

Ironically, voting was held inside the Maceo Baptist Church whose pastor, Rev. Scott Ford, led the opposition to the local option. Supporters were led by a businessman whose family owns nine convenience stores in Daviess County.

Maceo was the second precinct in the county to go wet this year. Whitesville voters passed a local option in June. Daviess County spent more than $6,000 for both elections.

Daviess County now has just 15 dry precincts out of a total of 85.

The next wet-dry vote can’t be held until December at the earliest.

Crooked Tail Distillery Company / Facebook

Princeton’s first bourbon and moonshine distillery is open for business.

While Caldwell County is still a dry county, Princeton voted to allow in packaged and by the drink liquor sales in 2012.  

Patrick Sheridan says he and co-owner Chris Oakley have worked with city and economic leaders for over two years to develop the city’s first distillery since Prohibition.  

"In that time we have completely gutted and remodeled a 101-year-old building, which sits 50 yards from our water source, a natural limestone spring," said Sheridan. "Limestone strips out iron which gives your product a very smooth, clean finish. There's a reason the best bourbon in the world comes from Kentucky and mainly that's because this state sits atop limestone rock which makes some of the best water for bourbon."

Sheridan says all facets of the bourbon-making process are sourced locally.

Rick Howlett

Lawmakers are considering whether to allow the home delivery of alcohol in Kentucky.

A Boston-based alcohol delivery company called Drizly wants to add Kentucky to its list of places where customers can use its app, which sources local stores to deliver beer, liquor and wine. The company is asking the state legislature to consider a bill that would allow it to operate in the state.

Nick Rellas, CEO of Drizly, said the app allows local companies to make money off trade on the internet.

“They’re able to put their prices, their products up. Consumers are able to shop for alcohol on their phone or on the internet and have it delivered just like they do essentially every other area of their life,” Rellas said.

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Barren County is the latest southern Kentucky county to consider allowing package alcohol sales.

Cumberland and Metcalfe counties recently voted to go wet. The city of Leitchfield, in Grayson County, also voted to allow package alcohol sales.

Western Kentucky University graduate and retired Navy veteran Sonya Hamrick is leading a petition drive to get the issue on the ballot in Barren County.

She says she started thinking about pushing for change when she moved to Barren County after retiring from the military.

“To me, it only seemed reasonable to have alcohol for adults in an area that’s convenient for them. That’s what I was used to, and when I came back home I discovered there was no such thing here.”

Kentucky LRC

A state Senate committee has passed a bill that would crack down on habitual drunk drivers.

The bill would double the five-year “look-back period” for driving under the influence, meaning someone convicted of the charge multiple times in 10 years would face increased penalties.

Kentucky’s current law imposes escalating fines, license suspensions and possible jail time for each DUI offense within five years. The fourth offense is a class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

State Sen. Dennis Parrett, a Democrat from Elizabethtown, says he sponsored the bill after a woman was killed by a drunk driver in his district.

“A young lady a week after high school graduation, was killed by a drunk driver that had already had several DUIs and another one pending,” Parrett said. “But because of the five-year look-back period, those had been wiped off. I believe five years is not enough.”

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky’s distillers want to be able to sell drinks by the glass, just like wineries and breweries.

Current state law prohibits distilleries from selling drinks to visitors, something spirits producers say costs them money. Distillers can offer guests a tasting as part of a tour, but each person is limited to a total of one ounce of liquor.

Kentucky Distillers’ Association Director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs Kristin Meadors says her group has been speaking with lawmakers and is prepared to help craft legislation ahead of the 2016 General Assembly.

Meadors believes allowing distilleries to sell to visitors the bourbon, rye, vodka, and other spirits they produce on site would help elevate the Kentucky distillery experience to what is found in other parts of the country.

“When you go to a winery in Napa, what do you do? They provide you with a flight, and you purchase a flight for sometimes 20, 30, or 50 bucks. And so you sit there and enjoy it, and you pair it with some wonderful foods,” Meadors told WKU Public Radio.

“So we want you to linger a little bit more, experience a distillery, and pair the bourbon with some great Kentucky Proud products that we have across the state.”

The changes sought by the KDA would allow a distillery visitor to purchase a shot of a small batch spirit, a flight of spirits, or a cocktail.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Lee Royal

Tennesseans will soon be able to have alcoholic beverages delivered straight to their doors.

A law signed by Governor Bill Haslam that goes into effect July 1 allows third-party restaurant delivery services to buy alcohol from retailers and deliver it to consumers. The Tennessean reports that the owner of a Nashville-area food delivery service predicts his sales will increase 50-to-100 percent once he’s able to deliver alcohol to consumers.

Companies will be allowed to deliver up to a gallon of alcohol per customer, per delivery.

Consumers must show a valid form of ID, and all delivery drivers must be at least 21 years of age and pass a criminal background check. Any business delivering alcohol must get at least half of its gross sales from food delivery.

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A battle over beer is brewing in Frankfort.

Kentucky microbreweries say out-of-state breweries like Anheuser-Busch shouldn’t be able to own beer distributors in the state—something in-state microbreweries aren’t allowed to do.

A House bill filed by Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, would close what some call a loophole in Kentucky law, which permits out-of-state breweries to own their own distributorships.

Daniel Harrison, owner of Country Boy Brewing in Lexington, said the bill would make large companies play by the same rules as companies like his.

“If Kentucky breweries can’t own distributorships, or microbreweries, why do we let out-of-state guys?” Harrison said.

Seventy-eight Tennessee municipalities have passed a referendum for wine to be sold in supermarkets.

They collected enough signatures to place the referendum on the Tennessee ballot Tuesday. Final voting results show all the communities passed the measure.

Currently, wine can be sold only in liquor stores. Because of a state law passed earlier this year, wine can be sold by grocery and convenience stores starting in July 2016 in the communities where citizens vote for the change.

Supermarkets and convenience stores can sell beer containing up to 6.5 percent alcohol by volume. Anything stronger can be sold only in package stores, which, as of July 1, are able to sell items other than booze, such as beer, mixers, glasses, corkscrews, food and cigarettes.

University of Kentucky Could Lift Ban on Alcohol By Fall Semester

Apr 24, 2014
The University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky is set to allow alcohol on campus with specific guidelines yet to be determined.   The announcement came this afternoon from UK President Eli Capilouto.  UK has been an alcohol free campus for more than a decade.   UK Student Government Association President Roshan Palli served on the Student Health and Safety Workgroup which compiled the report.

"We want our students on campus when they're engaging in social activities and when they're not, so we don't want alcohol to be an issue that we choose to force off our campus,” said Palli.  “Exactly where, you know, that's a good question.  I think that's definitely what the implementation committee gonna be having to explore."

Palli hopes the revised alcohol policy can be implemented by the beginning of the fall semester.  The report also calls for extending the Code of Student Conduct beyond the campus boundaries.

Kentucky State Parks

A Kentucky House lawmaker is predicting the General Assembly will pass a bill allowing alcohol sales at many state parks.  

House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark’s bill would give residents in precincts containing state park lodges or golf courses the ability to petition for an election allowing alcohol by the drink. Clark’s bill has passed out of a Senate committee, and the Louisville Democrat says Senate leaders have told him they believe the measure will make it through the legislature this session.

The Herald-Leader reports State Parks Commissioner and former Bowling Green mayor Elaine Walker said expanded alcohol sales at state parks and golf courses would be substantial.

The list of Kentucky State Resort Parks that do not serve alcohol includes Barren River Lake, Cumberland Falls,  Dale Hollow Lake, Pennyrile Forest, and Rough River Dam.

Opponents of the bill say alcohol sales would interfere with the family-friendly atmospheres found at Kentucky’s state parks.

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A federal appeals court has reinstated a 76-year-old old ban on grocery stores, gas stations and other retailers selling wine and liquor in Kentucky after finding the law doesn't violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a decision by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn in 2012 to lift the restriction.

Judge Deborah L. Cook wrote for the court that the state "indisputably maintains a legitimate interest" in reducing access to high-alcohol content products.

A Louisville convenience store, Maxwell's Pic-Pac, and the Food with Wine Coalition challenged the ban in a lawsuit filed in federal court in 2011. The plaintiffs said the law treated them differently from package liquor stores simply because they sold food and other staples.

College football season begins this weekend and Kentucky’s Department of  Alcoholic Beverage Control says investigators will be out in force, looking for underage people drinking alcohol before and after games.
Director Mike Razor says the tailgating scene provides a different kind of challenge for investigators.

“In a controlled environment in licensed premises it’s easier because the licensee is our friend and they want to make sure they’re not serving underage kids,” said Razor.  “But in a tailgating scenario, you’ve got a whole lot of people out there and there’s no one really in control.”

He says those caught providing alcohol to minors could face jail time.  Investigators will be patrolling tailgate parties and stores near college campuses where football games are being played.