Northeast Tarrant

Packaged liquor sales on Nov. 8 ballot in Grapevine

NYT

Voters in a Nov. 8 local option election will decide whether to allow the sale of all alcoholic beverages for “off-premise consumption only.”

If the measure passes, liquor stores would likely become part of the Grapevine landscape.

Consumers can buy beer and wine at retail stores and mixed drinks at restaurants within city limits.

Nearby cities where packaged liquor is available include Colleyville and Lewisville.

Efforts to get on the ballot were largely the result of efforts of Maryland-based Total Wine & More — which bills itself as the nation’s largest family owned and privately held wine, spirits and beer retailer.

“We have a number of customers in the Metroplex and we listened to our customers — including in and all around Grapevine — and our customers said they wanted to have a store close to them,” said Edward Cooper, Total Wine & More vice president of public affairs & community relations.

Confident that it will be approved, Cooper said that they are already scouting locations that would be large enough for a store — which typically run about 20,000 to 30,000 square feet.

The petition for the ballot measure was submitted to the city May 27 by a political action committee, Grapevine Citizens for Total Wine & More PAC, and had 5,339 signatures.

Of those, 4,590 signatures were verified by the Tarrant County Elections Administration.

According to the city, the petition called “To Legalize: The legal sale of all alcoholic beverages for Off-Premise Consumption Only.” The petition contained the required number of signatures to call the local option election.

The City Council at their July 5 regular meeting approved sending the matter to a public vote.

Currently, Grapevine does not allow businesses to sell alcohol within the city limits unless the business has a food and beverage permit.

The business must receive at least 51 percent of gross sales tax revenue from food sales.

An organization that has formed in opposition to the ballot measure is Grapevine Family PAC.

Grapevine Family PAC Treasurer Michael Morris Sr., a semi-retired business consultant, called Total Wine & More “the Wal-Mart of liquor stores.”

The self-described activist who promotes Grapevine said his major concern is that huge companies will run off customers who go to businesses that give Grapevine its unique flavor such as wine tasting rooms.

Also, the 73-year-old Grapevine resident said the city and other supporters of Grapevine “have gone a long way toward developing the image of Grapevine as a family-friendly situation.”

Cooper said a consulting firm gathered petition signatures by going door to door and working at key locations.

“Grapevine is a terrific place,” said Cooper, adding that they own 150 stores in 21 states. “The real estate is phenomenal.”

Grapevine City Council Member Paul Slechta said that if the measure passes, the council will work toward having the best liquor stores they can.

“We will respond to the wishes of the voters,” the councilman said.

More election information is available on the city’s website at www.grapevinetexas.gov/index.aspx?NID=1160.

Marty Sabota: 817-390-7367, @martysabota

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