Community Issues: Liquor by the Drink Referendum

I really enjoyed hearing everyone’s opinion about the Swimming Pool in Boone.  That post has the most comments, besides the contests!  One of my goals with The Mom Squad is to empower moms, dads, and families to get involved in the community, and the marketplace, and let their voices be heard.  So I’ve decided to occasionally feature a community issue that potentially affects families, and encourage you to share your thoughts.

Keep in mind that we don’t want to have a “debate” per se, but just share your own feelings in a respectful way.


What are your thoughts about the Liquor by the Drink referendum?  If you live in Boone will you vote?  Do you think it will help local restaurants to stay in business longer?  If your community has LBTD, how has it affected the area?  Do you have any other concerns or opinions?

To leave a comment, click the title of this post and scroll down to the bottom of the page.


  1. I don’t live in Boone, but I work and do most of my shopping in Boone. I do think that if the LBTD passes, current businesses will do better and it will most definately open the doors for more business in the future. I was from Elizabethton before I got married and since they were granted LBTD a couple of years ago, they have really grown…restaurant-wise at least. I just wish that there were a way for a community to be able to grow in the same way and get more access to better restaurants and establishments without bringing MORE access to harder liquor into the immediate area. It’s a double-edged sword. You get the good with the bad either way.

  2. Thanks for chiming in, Martha! “It’s a double-edged sword. You get the good with the bad either way.”

    I agree, and I wonder if there are ways to control the growth of “bars” and such with zoning regulations. I can see both sides. In West Jefferson, we have had LBTD, and I haven’t really noticed a big change, like I think some are anticipating. However, Boone is a college town, and that may make a difference.

    I really don’t see the difference in beer/wine and mixed drinks, as far as intoxication. Mixed drinks are more expensive, which leads me to believe college students may not buy them as much, anyway. And if people are going to drive drunk, they can do it with beer/wine just as easily.

    The only thing I would worry about as far as my family, would be more adult night clubs/ rowdy bars.

  3. I’m a reporter in Kings Mountain which doesn’t have LBTD. However there is a possibility of a referendum. I have to say as a young woman who just graduated college and living near or in cities (in the South) all my life I had never heard of a town not having it. I don’t live in Kings Mountain, but I can understand the concern of families that worry about their children. At the same time, young professionals like myself have nothing to do.
    I just graduated from a college town, USC in Columbia, and I loved every minute of it. I believe that it’s common sense, but people seem to lack that. Just my opinion. For example, if a restaurant or bar comes to a town that is concerned about its presence, it needs to ensure the follow standards such as management cutting people off when they’ve obviously had enough.
    Two, you’re right Sarah, most college kids will not touch mixed drinks. I will because I’m a girly-girl and beer has too many calories.
    Three, I believe ultimately the individual person is held responsible. KM has an ABC store and beer and wine, how much worse can a bunch of girly drinks be? I’m just saying.
    I understand people, especially morally and religous have concerns, but really it’s a matter of strong police work and common sense.
    And yes it’s nice to have a place where I can go order a healthy option, not something with a million calories.
    But I do agree and see the point of both the above. I’m just young still I guess. 🙂

  4. The thing that keeps creeping up in my mind is “How many more restaurants will close this year?” Last year, we had three restaurants close in Boone. I wonder what it is that causes so much bad luck for restaurant owners in Boone. Are people just not eating out as much? Maybe it’s the influx of chain restaurants? Well, it’s not big chains shutting down local restaurants. Two of the dining establishments that closed last year were chains. Baxter’s was a regional chain, as was Sagebrush. Wishbone’s closed its doors not that long ago. The Library failed to pass the test. Did these establishments fail because of poor management? It’s possible. Could these eateries have survived if Liquor-by-the-Drink had passed when it was previously brought to vote? There’s no way to know for sure.
    I do know one thing. Blowing Rock and Banner Elk have Liquor-by-the-Drink. They have had it for years. They have it because they are tourist communities. Both cities enjoy quite a bit of revenue from tourism. I don’t think Liquor-by-the-Drink hurts their success at all. In fact, I believe access to mixed spirits in those towns draws potential business from Boone. I’m not saying that the lack of access to mixed drinks in Boone has caused restaurants to close. I am suggesting that it hasn’t helped keep them in business.
    Whether we like it or not, Boone is a destination for tourists. People from all over come to Boone for their vacations. They come here to ski. They have their summer retreats in the area around Boone. I believe that access to mixed drinks in the surrounding areas has the potential to draw temporary residents and vacationers away from Boone’s restaurants.
    And, like it or not, Boone is a college town. Sure, when school’s in, there is a lot of drinking and general rowdiness. I certainly understand the concerns that increased access to alcohol will make the situation worse; but, the picture may seem more appealing if we open our eyes, take a step back, and stop focusing on the dark corners.
    Right now, underage drinking is somewhat of a problem in Boone. I won’t deny that. But, establishments card before alcohol is sold. Not every house party takes the time to make sure everyone is of age. I don’t know if underage consumption of alcohol would decrease if alcohol were available in restaurants. I know that it wouldn’t increase underage drinking. I’ve heard the concerns about increased numbers of drunk driving. People are going to drink and drive. The best you can do is to hope the local law enforcement will continue to be vigilant and catch these reckless citizens, hopefully, before they can do any real damage. But as it is now, I would wager that the majority of DUI arrests take place on 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock and on 105 between Boone and Banner Elk. Sure there are people who drive from one resident’s to another under the influence. Their threat isn’t lessened due to the shorter distance they travel. I am not suggesting, at all, that the distance people will drive drunk should be a factor in this issue. I ask, though, how many of these people would have walked had the establishment they decided to eat and drink at had been closer to their homes? I know that there are cab services that can be utilized, but cabs cost money. I don’t know, but I bet a ride to and from Blowing Rock or Banner Elk isn’t as cheap as a ride on the Appalcart.
    I’ve heard the moral argument until the arguer was blue in the face, and I have only this to say: “If beer and wine are good and fine, then what’s the deal with whiskey?” One alcohol isn’t worse than another. Most mixed drinks contain the same amount of alcohol as a glass of wine. I’m not making that up. Look here:
    You’ll see that a typical serving of beer, wine and pretty much any mixed drink, contains roughly 0.6 ounces of alcohol. I even checked into the ingredients and method my roommate uses to make his Whiskey Sours. Even the way he makes his, the Whiskey Sours he drinks only has 13% by volume alcohol content. Thats as much as some wines, and in a restaurant or bar, you know it’s probably watered down. So, I say again, why exclude mixed drinks? “People can drink more and drink them faster because they are smaller.” If someone is going to get drunk in a bar or restaurant, they are going to get drunk on what the establishment serves. You can’t control what people do with what’s available to them. If a restaurant doesn’t want to serve mixed drinks, that’s their prerogative. Just because the opportunity is presented before the public doesn’t mean there is going to be a mass exodus to Ruby Tuesday’s, Pepper’s, or any other restaurant if the measure passes.
    None of the arguments against Liquor-by-the-Drink in Boone make sense to me. At the end of the day, it’s another example of the government sticking their noses where it doesn’t belong. Alcohol consumption is a personal choice. Pass this measure and then let the business owners and citizens of Boone do what’s best. Give them the choice and trust them to be responsible.