Permit process holds up Sunday alcohol sales in Lancaster, York counties

joverman@fortmilltimes.comNovember 21, 2012 

Just a few weeks after Election Day, some Lancaster County restaurants can already sip beer and wine at restaurants on Sundays. Liquor will take a little longer.

The referendum to allow liquor by the drink on Sundays passed with 58 percent of the vote. According to South Carolina Alcohol Beverage Licensing, permits for liquor by the drink Sunday sales will be issued as soon as possible, likely in the next few weeks. Changes have to be made to the ABL licensing computer systems to allow them to print Sunday liquor licenses for Lancaster County, a process that might take up to two weeks.

“We’re telling people it may take several weeks but I’m hoping by the work week following Thanksgiving, (businesses) in Lancaster can get liquor by the drink permits,” said Dana Krajack of ABL.

In the meantime, a South Carolina statute allowed businesses that already hold on-premise beer and wine permits to begin serving beer and wine on Sundays immediately after the referendum was certified, he said.

In York County voters said yes to a referendum allowing Sunday sales of beer and wine at grocery and convenience. The state’s Department of Revenue is reviewing the referendum and related materials. It has not started the permit process for Sunday sales yet, a spokeswoman said.

Indian Land resident Elissa Boyet, a booster of the referendum, said she hoped that allowing Sunday alcohol sales at restaurants will encourage more restaurants to build in the area and support the bottom lines of the restaurants that already call Lancaster County home.

Shane’s Rib Shack, which opened in June near Walmart on U.S. 521, also plans to take advantage of the Sunday alcohol sales option, though owner Craig Willers said he has not yet begun selling beer and wine on Sunday.

Willers wanted to make sure he followed all regulations before he poured that first glass, but expected to start selling in the next few weeks.

Willers also owns two restaurants in Charlotte, where Sunday alcohol sales have been big business for him. He expects restaurants in Lancaster County will be pleased with the revenue increase they’ll see from Sunday alcohol sales.

“I think it’ll help a lot, especially in the hospitality industry, especially with the proximity to Charlotte. That business was just hopping over the state line to enjoy some cold beverages while they watch football. Now they can stay in their own county,” he said.

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