Alcohol is being sold legally in Grayson for the first time in 76 years.
Clark’s Pump-N-Shop BP on Carol Malone Boulevard was the first business in the city to receive its state alcohol license approval, and began selling beer on Tuesday. Additional licenses are pending, and sales are expected to begin soon at other locations in the city.
Keith Bays, who started the petition drive that led to city voters approving legal alcohol sales in June, was one of the first in line to buy beer when it went on sale at Clark’s.
Asked how it felt to be able to make the purchase, Bays cited a scene from the movie “The Shawshank Redemption” — the one where the lead character, Andy Dufresne, convinces a guard to provide beer for him and his fellow convicts working on a roofing detail in exchange for financial information.
“I felt just like Andy felt on that roof at Shawshank, like a truly free man in my own town,” he said.
Bays also said he also felt “a sense of accomplishment that no matter how screwed up many think our system is, that if you are determined, you can change the way things are done. We don’t have to accept ‘That’s just the way it is’ for an answer.”
Bays said he anticipated beer sales would begin before the end of the week at other stores. Currently, carry-out beer sales are the only type taking place, with others being phased in gradually.
Alcohol licenses must be approved by both the city’s alcoholic beverage control administrator, Reid Glass, who couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday, and the state.
Grayson voters approved legal alcohol sales in June by a vote of 511-393. Tuesday’s sales were the first in legal ones in Grayson since Carter County voted dry in 1937, four years after the repeal of Prohibition.
Also, the Grayson Journal-Times on Wednesday reported it had been notified by the state ABC Board that Grayson will be permitted to have two package liquor stores, based on its population.
The announcement will be printed in Wednesday’s issue of the Journal-Times, and applications for the licenses will be accepted for 30 days thereafter.
Grayson’s alcohol ordinance sets the hours for package sales at 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and the regular hours for by-the-drink sales at 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday. Sunday by-the-drink sales will be allowed from 1 p.m. to midnight at establishments that purchase special Sunday sales licenses for $300 a year. Sunday package sales will not be allowed.
By-the-drink liquor sales will be limited to hotels with at least 50 sleeping units and restaurants that seat at least 100 and derive at least 50 percent of their income from the sale of food. Restaurants that seat at least 50, but fewer than 100, will be able to purchase licenses to sell beer and wine only.
KENNETH HART can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2654.