New Businesses Could Lead to New Classes of Liquor Licenses

By Jeremy Coumbes on February 23, 2021 at 6:26pm

A pair of new businesses in Jacksonville may lead to the eventual creation of new forms of liquor licenses.

The Jacksonville City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would increase the number of liquor licenses by two for the new Waters Edge Winery on East Morton Avenue and the Cork and Crown Boutique at the corner of Main and College.

Mayor Andy Ezard says the new license for the winery has been in the works for a while now.

We’re looking at that closely. City Attorney, Beard has been working with local developer Mike Hayes on what he’s been doing as far as the winery and his other building out there. They need two separate liquor licenses because they have two different addresses. Which is disqualified with the state.

You have to get a local license first before you obtain a state license. I know Dan has been working with Mike, there is more to come on that. I also know we need to get him a liquor license for McClelland Hall, he wants to use that as a venue or banquet facility.”

Mike Hayes informed the Council that his operation has already started making wine in the building at the winery that has an existing license. Waters Edge is a franchise and Hayes has signed a deal with the company to eventually produce all of the wines for the company.

Discussion on the production aspect lead the council to consider a new class of license better suited to the production and distribution of alcohol, such as a craft brewery license, something the current city ordnance does not cover.

Ezard says an additional license request by the owner of Cork and Crown could lead to another class type of license that’s on the other end of the spectrum.

The other potential is to create a petite license for Elizabeth Lynch, she has a new business in town and she would like to see some things being done as far as purchasing some bottles of wine and some craft beer.

We’re looking at all of those things, we just wanted to get the ball rolling tonight. With first reading, more to come between meetings is two weeks. We will work out a lot of the details and if we need more time we will have to do a second reading. At the next meeting, we can table that till we are fully ready in October and everyone is satisfied.”

The creation of the boutique license would allow for the tasting or sampling of wine or craft beer on-site without being a full-fledged onsite consumption license.

Ezard said during the workshop he wanted to keep the annual license fee lower for a boutique license as the sale and possible consumption of the alcohol would be far and away from a traditional bar or tavern, nor would the sales aspect be near a standard package liquor retail store.

In other action, the city council approved the second reading of ordinances amending the zoning for several parcels of the former MacMurray campus, including changing Annie Merner Chapel and the McClellan Dining Hall from Public to B-4 with special use.

Mike Hayes is turning the combined properties into a wedding and reception, event hall. Hayes said during the meeting last night that the McClellan Dining Hall would now be named just McClellan Hall, and Annie Merner Chapel would not have a name change. He said it is his intention to keep the original names as much as possible of the buildings he has purchased on the campus, in an effort to help keep the spirit of the college alive.