Expanded alcohol sales could boost the bottom line
ALTO PASS, Ill. — Stick to wine. That's been the law of the land in Alto Pass. Two vineyards there on the Southern Illinois Wine Trail held the only liquor licenses there but they were limited in what they could sell.
That's all about to change.
Tuesday night, the village's board gave the go-ahead, approving a new liquor ordinance that allows for the sale of wine and beer.
"We pride ourselves on the wine we make but in order to accommodate for everybody, you need to have some options," said Corey Peters, with Alto Vineyards.
Peters said that was the issue. Village rules kept the vineyard from serving anything but wine, sending some beer drinkers elsewhere.
"They would just up and leave," he said.
The new ordinance sets up a number of different license classes. It expands sales and even includes a stipulation for special events.
"I don't suspect that it's going to cause any more of a problem for us," said David Livesay, Union County Sheriff.
Livesay's department polices Alto Pass. The village doesn't have its own police force. Critics used that to fight the new ordinance.
But Livesay said the patrols were there anyway.
"When we have festivals and the wine trails especially on the weekend, we do have an extra area of patrol by our officers," said Livesay.
Alto Vineyards is building a new tasting room and reception hall and given the expanded alcohol sales, they hope it will attract more tourists and tasters.
"One of the few wineries that aren't able to serve beer and that is where we are falling behind," said Peters.
The ordinance still does not allow for the sale of spirits and wineries must get a special permit from the village for events that run late into the night. Restaurants can also apply for extended sales.
The new policies go into effect in a couple of weeks.