Nearly four years after going into effect, the controversial ordinance allowing Leitchfield restaurants to serve alcohol has proven beneficial.
While only three Leitchfield restaurants currently serve alcohol (El Patron Mexican Grill, Mi Camino Real, and Midtown Cafe and Inn), the annual revenue they earn from the sale of alcoholic beverages is substantial.
According to Leitchfield Finance Officer Erin Embry, the three restaurants typically see a combined total profit of $185,000 to $200,000 per year from the sale of alcoholic beverages.
In addition, the City of Leitchfield received $16,000 from the moist ordinance in 2013 and typically budgets $15,000 in revenue from the ordinance per year, Embry said.
“If you just look at the numbers, it’s been beneficial,” said Embry.
The moist ordinance/Limited 100 law allows restaurants in the City of Leitchfield to serve alcoholic beverages, provided they meet a number of requirements.
Restaurants must have at least 100 permanent seats, derive at least 70 percent of their revenue from food sales, and pay an eight percent tax on all acoholic beverages sold, according to Leitchfield City Clerk/Treasurer Kim Sowders.
Participating restaurants must also have an alcohol license that they renew on a yearly basis, Sowders said.
Leitchfield Chief of Police Kevin Henderson said since the ordinance was passed, the number of DUI (driving under the influence) charges, which typically result in a $500 fine and the loss of one’s license for 30 days, in the City has remained steady rather than increasing.
The number of complaints has risen, however, and a number of incidents have occurred relating to the ordinance, said Henderson, citing the 2013 closing of Pit Road Sports Grill due to the owner’s neglecting to pay the alcohol tax and the Leitchfield man who was struck by a vehicle after leaving Mi Camino Real in February of this year.
In spite of these incidents, Henderson said he anticipates Grayson County to follow in the footsteps of Breckinridge County, which voted to become a “wet” county in early 2013.
The vote allows Breckinridge County to sell packaged liquor in stores, in addition to serving alcoholic beverages in restaurants.
The first reading of the ordinance lifting prohibition in Leitchfield was passed on April 5, 2010. The second reading of the ordinance was passed April 19, 2010. Prohibition in Leitchfield was officially lifted effective May 24, 2010.