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Alcohol sales prompt changes at General Butler

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By Jeff Moore

Groups using General Butler State Resort Park facilities will notice new policies in place on bringing their own alcohol to the convention center and golf course.

These changes come as the park begins selling alcohol under a license granted in August.

Patrons heading to the park’s Two Rivers Restaurant also will now find they have the choice of ordering beer, liquor and wine with their meals.

Gil Lawson, spokesman for the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, said beer sales began at the golf course Aug. 4. Beer and wine sales started on Aug. 26 at the restaurant, with liquor sales beginning soon afterwards.

With this, individuals are no longer allowed to bring their own beer, wine or liquor to the golf course or convention center, Lawson said.

“[General Butler] can’t allow alcohol to be brought in from outside where we’re selling it,” Lawson said. These same alcohol control laws apply to anyone who has a license to sell in Kentucky. “We’re no different than any other license holder,” he said.

Because the park must enforce this, Lawson said, no outside coolers are allowed on the golf course. Coolers are available for use at the shop at the course, where alcohol can be purchased.

At last Wednesday’s Carrollton Rotary Club golf scramble, Rotary President Kathy Rarey said she didn’t hear a negative word about the change. The club in the past had a sponsor who provided beer for the golfers.

“No one mentioned a single word,” Rarey said. “I think people understand.”

She said the club contacted all of the teams in advance to let them know the sponsor wouldn’t be providing beer and that private coolers were not allowed. “We didn’t want this to be an issue,” she said.

Throughout the day, she said many golfer did purchase their beverages from the park. Additionally, park personnel did go around on the course offering beer for sale.

For those using the convention center for events such as weddings or parties, these individuals must also use the park as the source of any alcohol sold. “We have to follow state law as everyone else does,” Lawson said. The park must ensure that no one who is underage receives alcohol and also monitor how much is served to adults.  “We did not have a choice in this matter,” he said.

The new alcohol policy did prompt a change for an annual community banquet sponsored each year by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber had already set its ticket prices for the Oct. 13 awards banquet that was planned for the park’s convention center, President Mark Smith said. As part of the event, River Valley Winery has always provided free wine tasting for those attending the silent auction.

The new policy that took affect during August will not allow individuals or other vendors to serve alcohol at the convention center.

Smith said the chamber board opted to move the banquet to the Old English Schoolhouse because they were unable to adjust ticket prices to accommodate paying the park to offer wine tasting. “We couldn’t bear the additional cost,” he said.

Park officials were willing to work with the chamber to allow for the change of venue. “(Park manager Jim Cooper) was very understanding,” he said. “They were very apologetic.”

Smith said that the chamber will consider moving back to the convention center for the banquet next year.

Lawson said officials with the park have tried to work closely with groups to work out any issues arising with the new policies. He encouraged people to contact the park about their events if they have any question about these changes.

At Two Rivers restaurant, the reaction so far has been good. “We see this as a choice that people can make,” Lawson said.

But he said the parks will maintain their “family-friendly” environment.

The new policies on alcohol do not affect those staying at the park.

Lawson said those staying in the lodge or at the campsites are allowed to bring their own coolers and alcohol for their personal use in their rooms or sites.

However, he noted, they cannot go into the public areas of the park with their alcohol.

Kentucky State Parks decided last year that it would begin offering alcohol at the five parks located in “wet” communities that allow alcohol sales. Two resort parks, Jenny Wyley at Prestonsburg and Lake Barkley near Cadiz, are selling, along with three parks that offer golf, including My Old Kentucky Home Golf Course at Bardstown and John James Audubon Golf Course near Henderson.

The move is designed to increase business at the locations.

Lawson said the park system expects this to increase business at the convention center, restaurant and golf course, as well as bring more people to stay at the park.

He said they have received requests from people wanting to use the convention center for alcohol availability at their event and have not been able to accommodate them in the past.

Park staff who handle alcohol sales underwent training to ensure no one underage is served and that no one is overserved, he said. With alcohol sales, those under age 20 working there are not allowed to sell or serve it.