March 8, 2018

A Hancock County town lifts its ban on hard liquor sales

Eighty-five years after Prohibition ended in 1933, voters in Penobscot have decided it's time to allow hard liquor to be sold in their Hancock County town of slightly more than 1,200 residents.

The Ellsworth American reported that voters at Penobscot's annual town meeting on Tuesday approved two warrant articles dealing with hard liquor sales — one allowing sales Monday through Saturday and the second allowing sales on Sunday.

Prior to the vote, only wine and beer were allowed to be sold in the town, the newspaper reported, adding that only one resident spoke against allowing hard liquor to be sold in town as well.

Businesses in town planning to sell hard liquor will still need to be licensed by the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations.

Jamie MacNair, co-owner of Northern Bay Market with her husband, intends to apply for a hard liquor permit from the state. "We're looking for other ways to bring in income," she said, according to the Ellsworth American. "Just because people aren't buying it here doesn't mean they aren't drinking liquor here."

Maine municipalities have choice

After Prohibition ended in 1933, Maine towns were given the option of allowing liquor licenses or not. As recently as 2013, when the Bangor Daily News reported that the town of Sedgwick had just approved allowing alcohol to be sold in restaurants, there were still 56 completely dry communities in the state.

The BDN reported at that time that Cushing in 2012 and Friendship and Morrill in 2009 had voted to allow the sale of alcohol within their borders.


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