Restaurant owner has questions about liquor by the drink law

By: Allison Hunt
By: Allison Hunt

KNOX COUNTY (WVLT) - Knox Countians spoke overwhemingly in favor of liquor by the drink. The referendum passed by almost a 2 to 1 margin.
Aubrey's Restaurant owner, Randy Burleson, says he was overwhelmed. "It's really a fun thing for us here at the restaurant, everybody was cheering."

But Burleson, who planned to apply for a liquor license Wednesday, will be making a few more phone calls before he starts selling wine and spirits in his restaurant.

"There's some discrepencies in the law, of how it's written, the legislation was written many, many years ago, there are terms like civil districts which no longer apply and there are questions that if you had part of the city in that part of the county of that civil district you cannot apply."

Burleson hopes to clear up questions and make calls to people like Representative Joe Armstrong and Senators Jamie Woodson and Tim Burchette to clean up the discrepencies.

"Hopefully that they would clean up the terms of the legistlation saying that if a county like knox co. Had voted to have liquour by the drink in the restaurant, it'll be as simple as a yes no majority vote, the governor might have to sign off on that, but we should be able to clean it up pretty quick," says Burleson.

He also thinks there are several benefits now that the referendum has passed. "It's really a good thing, you get county restaurants, you get a server involved, a manager involved, an owner involved to make sure people are not self intoxicating themselves, not drinking too much, taxation wise it's better to have the same taxes than it is to have everyone paying the property taxes and the annexation of the city."

Burleson is hopeful everything will be worked out before the end of the year. "We're going down the path and in the woods and hopefully someday we'll be able to have the restaurants that the same rights as city restaurants."

Liquor by the drink was on the ballot in several locations in East Tennessee.
It passed everywhere except in Jellico, where liquor by the drink and package liquor referendums both failed.

We want to hear what you think about the liquor by the drink passing in Knox County and other areas across East Tennessee. Leave your comments at the top of the page.

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