ATC looking to change type and number of alcohol permits

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Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 7:15pm

UPDATED: Friday, February 7, 2014 - 12:24pm

The ATC is exploring some new ways to make applying for an alcohol permit a little easier for smaller businesses.

Taylor Blanche has a vision for what he'd like the Spanish Town Market, formerly Capitol Grocery, to be one day. He would like it to be a place where people can grab a casual, quality lunch or a few grocery essentials.

"We want it to be more like you're hanging out with a friend. You know you go to a friend's house he might say 'hey you want to have a hamburger and a beer?' well it's the same kind of idea here," explained Blanche.

Blanche said that vision is still a ways away from the present. Right now the grocery can only sell certain beers, and no wine or liquor.

"They’ll come out here and sit down and be like 'oh what, I can't finish this beer here? I just bought a burger now you're going to tell me I can't drink this beer?' that's where it makes us look bad and they look at us like we did something wrong," shared Blanche.

That’s just the type of issue Alcohol and Tobacco Commissioner Troy Hebert is looking to fix with some new legislation.

“What we're proposing to do is make a permit that's just wine, and that would enable a business to pick and choose exactly what type of alcohol they'd like to sell," explained Hebert.

Right now there are just two types of permits; one for high content alcohol and one for low content alcohol. Wine, liquor and many beers fall into that high content category, making it hard for new-concept neighborhood eateries to offer just wine and beer for their lunch crowds.

"It’s a good business model. it just didn't fit into what our current laws have. That’s why I think it's important to keep updating our current laws to keep up, and so it actually came out of a necessity to help some of these people live the American Dream," said Hebert.

The permits run about $300 each and Hebert explained that those who already have permits under the old system would simply be grandfathered in and function with their old licenses if the legislation is passed.

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