With the passage of the so-called “wet vote” in Van Buren County at the Nov. 3 election, those wishing to sell, or purchase, liquor, beer or wine in the county still have to wait for some steps to be completed.

The first step, of course, would be for a liquor store to open in the county, or a business which sold wine or beer. Each has a lessening requirement for application and approval for sales, according to a spokesman with the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration.

A liquor store has the biggest requirement for sales, requiring a multi-step process.

The process begins regardless of what is being sold, first, with the county election results being certified. Van Buren County Judge Dale James stated election results are expected to be certified in the county on or around Nov. 20 depending on county election commission actions.

Due to population, two liquor store applications will be approved for the county.

Liquor store

After votes are certified, a 30 day waiting period goes into effect. After the 30 day period is completed:

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration publishes a notice that it is able to accept applications. Each application requires a $2,000 fee.

Applications are then accepted for 60 days, after which the application period closes.

After the application period closes a period from 150 to 180 days takes place during which applications are held.

Once the waiting period passes, applicants are called into the ABC for a drawing, and two numbers are drawn. The first number drawn tells them what order the person will have in pulling a number for the second drawing.

The second drawing number is then in what order that applicant will make its presentation to ABC for its liquor store proposal. Two of those proposals will be approved by the ABC board.

After those two applications are approved, an additional 30 day waiting period is put into effect. This can be extended, however, if a legal challenge is made to the applicant’s proposal having been approved.

Once the application is approved and 30 days have passed without legal challenges, the applicant may begin selling liquor in the county.

Beer and wine

A beer and wine permit is $350.

Beer and wine sale applications may be accepted within 30 days of vote certification. To sell wine, a business must be a convenience or grocery store for its application to be approved.

Beer only

Any person, however, can open a beer-only store, including a stand-alone business, once their application has been approved by ABC.

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