Anorak News | American Town Of Potter Outlaws Beer

American Town Of Potter Outlaws Beer

by | 19th, June 2007

potter-beer.jpgYOU’LL soon have to drive a long way in Potter, New York, to get yourself a beer.

So far, in fact, that you’ll have to travel outside the town’s 37 square miles where residents passed a law that makes the sale of beer illegal.

Though that’s not the way the residents of Potter wanted it.

In a Homer Simpson-esque attempt to add wine and spirits to the liquor license of one of only a few places in town that sold beer, residents somehow managed to outlaw beer completely. D’oh.

And the good folk of Potter, a mainly agricultural area of New York State, are not amused.

“Why would somebody want to make this a dry community?” Ron Chapin asked the New York Times as he picked up a six-pack of Labatt Ice at the only store in town that still has a license. “It’d be a bummer.”

The trouble started in 2005, when local restaurant, the Hitchin’ Rail, submitted an application to sell wine and beer with meals.

Archaic New York state laws required the town to put the application before the townsfolk in a referendum that town supervisor Leonard Lisenbee told the Times entailed five “stupid questions.”

Questions included: “Shall any person be authorized to sell alcoholic beverages at retail to be consumed on premises licensed pursuant to the provisions of Section 64 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law?”

And: “Shall any person be authorized to sell alcoholic beverages at retail, not to be consumed on the premises, where sold in the town of Potter?”

Potterites were bemused. So they did whatever any other suspicious person might do when faced with five legally-binding and confusing questions. They voted “no” to them all.

Not only did they refuse the Hitchen Rail’s application. But they accidentally stopped the two stores in town from selling beer when their licenses ran out. The last license runs out in about two weeks.

Dave Spampinato, who lost his liquor license last year, told the Times that revenue dropped by a third: “It really created a lot of hostility in this small town.”

The townsfolk have tried a number of times to reverse their self-imposed ban. They approved a referendum in 2006 for the sale of “hard liquor” (wines and spirits) only to find out that the new law did not apply to a nice, cold bottle of beer.

And they wrote begging letters to the New York State Legislature, which extended the license of Federal Hollow Staples, the only place that sells beer, until December. So at least the hot summer months are covered.

Katie Brown, the manager of Federal Hollow Staples, said the store relies on beer sales for 78 percent of its annual revenue: “We’re a farming town, you know?”

Posted: 19th, June 2007 | In: Strange But True Comments (7) | TrackBack | Permalink