What once was a stream is now a flood as applications for grocery store wine permits pour into the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division. As of mid-afternoon Thursday, they numbered 160, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance & Administration said.
The applications come from enterprises ranging from a slew of Wal-Mart Stores in Arkansas to the Redfield Truck Stop in Redfield (Jefferson County), the Old Country Store in Bono (Craighead County) and Footsie’s in Okolona (Clark County). Also seeking permits are any number of Brookshire, Harps, Kroger and Kum & Go stores.
The stores are seeking to take advantage of Act 508 of 2017, which allows grocery stores in “wet” counties to sell an expanded selection of wine, a proposal that generated fierce opposition from many liquor stores in Arkansas.
After the applications are received, the ABC has to be in possession of the application for a minimum of 30 days before the ABC director, Mary Robin Casteel, can make a decision.
The board then votes to accept or deny the director’s decision at the next board meeting, which is Nov. 15. For the applications approved at that meeting, permits would be issued immediately, likely the next day, a DF&A spokesman has said.