Historically, alcohol and tobacco sales have not been allowed within Colorado City or Hildale City limits. This has forced businesses to set up shop outside city limits thus forcing alcohol drinking residents to travel just beyond Colorado City limits to purchase their boozy wares. Bee’s Marketplace, the closest purveyor of alcoholic beverages, is literally a stone throw beyond city limits (with a good throwing arm).
According to the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, in a new report, Arizona and Utah state law prohibit dry counties. A dry county is a place where the sale of alcohol is illegal despite state and national law. There are, however, several examples of dry cities in Utah, although Hildale is not listed among them. Blanding, Utah recently considered the issue in a public referendum which failed to overturn the prohibition. Alcohol sales have been prohibited within city limits since the early 1900’s. I was unable to find any dry towns in Arizona, aside from Colorado City. Increasingly there have been attempts by active and prospective businesses to persuade both Councils to allow the sale of alcohol and tobacco, with very little success.
The Hildale City council tabled consideration for consent to a beer and tobacco sales license on January 16, 2018, until next month, pending the completion of appropriate paperwork. According to statements at the meeting, the request, made by the Border Store, has been denied several times. The issue was raised in the last Colorado City Town Council meeting as well. The Dollar General store brought a request before the council that was unanimously denied. The only business to successfully navigate the waters of approval for alcohol sales is the Edge of the World Brewery, which has yet to open. They were able to get approval for a microbrewery license, allowing them to serve beer in their taproom, despite the unanimous no vote from the Colorado City Town Council.
The arguments for allowing the sale of alcohol within city limits, as expressed by Jim Provenzano, District Manager for Dollar General, at the December 11th, council meeting follows a reasonable line of thinking. According to the minutes from that meeting, “DG wanted to sell alcoholic beverages as part of the bigger business plan and noted the increased tax revenue to the Town. He noted that other stores in the area just outside of the Town were selling and felt that with the location it would be a good fit for their store.” They determined that the location was not near a church or school and clarified that they only wished to sell beer and wine, not hard liquor. It was determined that they expected both local and highway traffic sales and that around 90 percent of DG stores sold alcohol. Mr. Provenzano also stated that there would be increased revenue for the town due to increased sales. DG also made clear that there are procedures and infrastructure in place to ensure that age verification requirements are met, as it is with their tobacco sales.
The Mayor requested that Marshal Jerry Darger comment on the issue. According to the minutes, “Marshal Darger voiced his concern with having alcohol readily available and noted that although abolition does not work, as alcohol becomes more readily available, there is an increase in DUI and Domestic Violence police calls and that in his opinion, the quality of life tends to go down. He also noted several major accidents and deaths that involved juveniles and alcohol.” The minutes also indicate that Mayor Allred voiced his views, “Mayor Allred stated that his personal opinion is that alcohol does about as much good for society as tobacco which is not any good to society, so he is not in support of it. He stated that the detriment to the country from alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, etc. is great. He also noted that the ultimate decision will be made by the State Liquor Board.”
In the case of Edge of the World Brewery, the State Liquor Board granted the license, no word on whether they have granted it for DG. The Council ultimately voted unanimously, recommending disapproval. The state of Utah is a little different. It does not appear that they are willing to override the wishes of local governments.
What are your thoughts? Should the local governments of Hildale and Colorado City approve the sale of alcohol within city limits? What about granting restaurants the ability to serve alcohol?