Ashland considers allowing beer sales at gas stations
ASHLAND -- According to part of Ashland ordinance 922: Gas and beer shouldn't mix. "No...intoxicating liquor or fermented malt beverage license shall be issued for any premise which sells gasoline," Section 412 of the ordinance reads. But Brian M...
ASHLAND -- According to part of Ashland ordinance 922: Gas and beer shouldn't mix.
"No...intoxicating liquor or fermented malt beverage license shall be issued for any premise which sells gasoline," Section 412 of the ordinance reads.
But Brian Matthys, manager of four Ashland Midland Services Cenex stations, says he wants the ordinance to change.
"It's maybe one of the few cities that have an ordinance like this that restricts the sale of gasoline and alcohol from the same facility," Matthys said.
Many vacationers ask to buy beer on their way out of the city but go onward after learning a second liquor store stop would have be made, Matthys said.
"They lack the time. They're on their way to their vacation spots so they continue on to another town or someplace else to get their refreshments," Matthys said.
If the Ashland City Council approves the rule adjustment, Matthys says beer would be more widely available and only slight changes would have to be made at area convenience stores.
"We'll have to get a Class A beer license in the city of Ashland and all of our employees will have to go through a training," Matthys said.
Backers of the rule change say liquor stores would not be affected but owners of stores in the alcohol business, like co-owner of Super H Foods Pat Hunt, say customers would just get taken away from them.
"It's not like we're in a shortage of outlets for people to get beer in this town. There's plenty around right now," Hunt said.
An increase in competition may hurt area Mom & Pop beer-sellers, Hunt said.
"There's only so much pie to go around. It's not going to increase sales anywhere. It's just going to make less for people to divide up amongst themselves," Hunt said.
Matthys says he views things differently.
"We think we're not going to take away a piece of the pie in town necessarily but perhaps taking some of that revenue away from another city, another area," Matthys said.
Historically for Ashland, the issue has been often contested with tighter alcohol rules usually prevailing.
Liquor store owners want the decision made slowly to take these decades of precedent into account, Hunt said.
"[I'm] hoping that they at least table it or put it on the November election as a referendum and let us all decide what we want," Hunt said.
Matthys says he hopes things move forward.
"We hope that the City Council would support it, they have supported thus far and think that it's good for the city of Ashland," Matthys said.