Monday, July 26, 2010

Carbondale considers new liquor license class for B & Bs

A spew is brewing in Carbondale after the new owner of the Hundley House bed and breakfast asked the city for permission to sell alcohol to his guests.

Don Jones opened the inn in May. Now he wants to add a liquor license to his amenities. Currently the city code allows for licenses to be issued to hotels and motels if they have 25 rooms or more. Bed and breakfast inns max out at just five rooms under Illinois law.

By definition bed and breakfast inns provide breakfast where the issue of liquor doesn't usually come up. However, some offer dinner or an evening cocktail. Those that do either require guests to bring their own bottle of wine for dinner, or provide the drinks for free.

According to the Southern Illinoisan the city council members didn't have a problem with proposal in general. Instead, they tabled it until a future meeting for issues with the language to be worked out.

The fight is coming a competitor, Paul Lewers, of the Train Inn Bed & Breakfast, (and not the Trail Inn as referenced in the article).

"It's kind of like the Wal-Martization of America where everyone has to come up with a way to do everything," said Paul Lewers, owner of Trail-Inn Bed and Breakfast. "It smacks of some kind of need to wrangle every last dollar out of your customer. It's something I would never want."

Lewers along with fellow operator Linda Goforth of the long-running Barton House B & B are fine in their decision not to offer alcohol if such an ordinance passes, whether it be on moral or business grounds, but Lewers is on much shakier ground when he takes a stand to oppose a license for a competitor who does want that option.

Many of the guests in the various inns and cabins in the area come for the wineries. The idea of being able to sell a bottle of local wine, or that matter a bottle of the local brew from the Big Muddy Brewing Co. over in Murphysboro, is an amenity many guests will want.

The council discussed the issue in June. The proposed ordinance
would set a $100 fee for the new license, down from the $2,250 for a hotel.

It would also limit the sale of alcohol to guests only. The only problem I see is that it would require the sale and use of alcohol to guests rooms only, as opposed to common areas or the dining room. That requirement should be removed.

In other bed and breakfast inn news, the Marion Daily Republican has a nice feature on the Olde Squat Inn in Williamson County. The inn is northeast of Marion, as opposed to northwest as stated in the article.

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