A Lack Of Liquor Licenses Could Steer Away Development

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Casper- (KCWY) "We're not talking about a proliferation of liquor, most of these licenses require more food sales than alcohol sales,” said Casper City Manager John Patterson.

The state legislature sets caps for liquor licenses and retail and bar and grills based on population this means for the moment Casper's are all taken.

"There are no retail liquor licenses available at this point in time, we do have 36. Bar and grill we have seven and none are available at this time either,” said Carla Mills-Laatsch the customer services supervisor at the city of Casper.

None may be available until after 2020. Liquor licenses probably won't be granted by state officials unless Casper shows population growth in the next mid census. Patterson says the states' liquor license limitation stops development before it can even begin.

"We have a new steakhouse coming to our area, but it couldn't come to Casper because we don't have the license that they wanted so they are going to Evansville,” said Patterson.

Future development in downtown Casper and the Platte river commons area are questionable. Patterson says liquor licenses drive economic development and the city could be missing out on restaurants typically including liquor in their concepts.

"There are some states that have looked at the liquor licenses and done a complete review, a comprehensive review, and determined that their licensing is archaic and dates back to prohibition in some cases, so they have modified and modernized their licenses,” said Patterson.

City council members will decide on a liquor license for a new bar and restaurant in the Old Yellowstone District. Patterson says this is the start of what Casper needs to attract young people downtown.

"From the coffee shop to the bar closing at 1 o clock in the morning, this is going to be a happening place that is open virtually 20 hours a day,” said Patterson.

The project is expected to be completed in 6 months.