by Max Brantley
Residents in nominally dry counties around Arkansas have often been unhappy as the state Alcoholic Beverage Control commission has merrily used a loophole added to state law to give what are essentially restaurant drink permits in the name of economic development. So now you can get a cocktail at highway diners from Bald Knob to Star City.
Yesterday, the ABC gave a flipside view to the through-the-looking-glass world of alcohol legislation. It unanimously nixed an off-premise beer permit for a convenience store in Fayetteville. This preserves the monopoly held on package beer sales for liquor stores. They sell a little beer in college towns, I understand. The cops are in on the fix, which pleases some grocery store owners who don't want to sell beer and don't want competition from those who do and immensely pleases the liquor stores. The cops contend more widely available beer could create lines at convenience stores and lax I.D. checking.
And while we're perusing the Stephens Media ABC story, the following sentence contains another inudstry-coined PR phrase that should be removed from news stories, along with "electronic games of skill," for blatant inaccuracy. See if you can guess. It's about a private club permit in Jacksonville.
Jay O'Neal, an officer in the business, assured the board the club would not be a biker club or a gentlemen's club.
UPDATE: Fayetteville may not have beer in grocery stores but Kiplinger has put it at No. 7 on the Top 10 list of the best American cities in which to "live, work and play."
UPDATE II: The irreverent Fayetteville Flyer has a good take on Fetvul's high standing.