Thursday, June 10, 2004

Earlier beer sales given OK

Erlanger stores, bars can begin at 11 a.m. Sunday

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ELSMERE - Beginning Sunday, you'll be able to buy beer in Elsmere two hours earlier.

Elsmere City Council approved the change this week by a vote of 4 to 3, with Mayor Billy Bradford casting the tie-breaker. A local businessman had asked city officials to allow the sale of malt beverages, or beer and wine coolers, at 11 a.m. on Sundays, instead of 1 p.m., as a number of nearby cities do.

Tom Dusing, a part-owner of Dusing Brothers Ice Manufacturing Co., told council that he has had customers leave his business on Sunday mornings to cross the street and buy a 12-pack of beer in Erlanger. That Kenton County suburb has allowed earlier Sunday beer sales since April.

In the past three years, Covington, Independence, Taylor Mill and Florence also relaxed restrictions on Sunday beer sales after restaurants and bars complained they were losing business to cities with earlier sales.

Dusing Brothers is one of about a dozen Elsmere businesses that sell beer.

"To me, it's just unfair,'' said Ted Davidson, owner of Discount Liquor in Elsmere. "Somebody could park in Dusing's parking lot on a Sunday morning and walk across the street to buy a malt beverage. That's not right.''

Although he owns a liquor store, Davidson said he has no stake in the issue because Discount Liquor is closed on Sundays, and he doesn't plan to apply for a Sunday license. Because the law prohibits him from selling liquor on Sundays, which is 68 percent of his business, Davidson said it isn't worth it for him to open for earlier Sunday beer sales.

Elsmere Council Member Neva Collins joined Terry Whittaker and Beth Wulfeck in voting against the change.

"Personally, I really don't care,'' Collins said. "But I was elected to vote the wishes of the citizens. We had two businesses show up for this, and we had numerous citizens who spoke against it.''

The Rev. Robert Courtney, pastor of the Lighthouse Freewill Baptist Church, gave council petitions with about 70 signatures of residents who opposed earlier Sunday malt beverage sales.

"Sunday is our worship time,'' Courtney said. "Next thing you know, they're going to want to move the beer sales back even earlier.''


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