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For the first time in 63 years, Hopkinsville allows Sunday alcohol sales

Hopkinsville Brewing Company interior.
Dustin Wilcox
Hopkinsville Brewing Company interior.

Hopkinsville recently amended an ordinance to allow alcohol sales on Sunday for the first time in 63 years.

The amendment will allow stores and restaurants to sell alcohol seven days a week from 11 a.m. CST to 2 a.m. Previously, only restaurants could apply for a special alcohol license to sell on Sundays. This follows similar decisions in the past decade by other western Kentucky municipalities, including Murray, Paducah and Barren County.

Daniel Brechwald, an area resident since 2014, was especially integral in bringing the item to the city council’s attention. He said the former restriction on alcohol sales was the one thing he wanted to change before eventually retiring in Hopkinsville.

Brechwald brought the item to the council in early January before launching an accompanying Facebook page and speaking to community members. The leader of a 2019 petition for Sunday alcohol sales also contacted him during this time. After multiple unsuccessful attempts in decades past, Brechwald believed people were really ready for this change.

“I felt it was a slam dunk case in terms of being American, and a lot of it came off the last two and a half years now, COVID, with choice,” Brechwald said. “Nobody wants big government telling them what to do. Whatever your spectrum of your political beliefs are, what it really comes to is freedom of choice, and I felt that was limited because of others beliefs on me.”

After the new law went into effect on May 29, Brechwald celebrated by strategically visiting as many businesses in Hopkinsville to be the first to purchase alcohol from them. He’s looking forward to the potential jolt Hopkinsville’s economy may experience because of this.

“We have talked for decades now about reinvigorating the downtown area. Well, you’re going to need alcohol to do that,” he said. “Potential residents and businesses don’t want to go somewhere that’s restricted…and now, we’ve taken that stigma off.”

Travis Martin, the council member representing Ward 6, was the first to share the amendment that would change the city’s alcohol sales ordinance with the Committee of the Whole, where it passed 11-to-1 on May 19. He said he thought amending the ordinance was the right thing to do to mirror Christian County’s recently updated ordinance and afford Hopkinsville businesses more opportunity for prosperity.

“Back in my younger days, if you wanted anything on Sunday, you either had to stock up on Saturday night or make the run to Oak Grove on Sunday, so we were just trying to keep some of those dollars here locally,” Martin said.

The amendment ultimately passed 10-to-1, as Phillip Brooks cast a ‘no’ vote and Terry Parker was absent. Martin noticed very little dissent toward the amendment outside of four or five Baptist churchgoers who sent emails and attended the second reading.

“I was all about the freedom to choose instead of being told by government that you can’t do this on this day,” Martin said. “We’ve got local breweries downtown and local business owners who felt like they should be able to do on Sunday what they were able to do every other day of the week.”

As the owner of Hopkinsville Brewing Company on East Fifth Street, Kate Russell said the amended ordinance will not only benefit her business but also the businesses which she hosts at her venue. The food truck parked out Hopkinsville Brewing Company on that first Sunday sold out of food within a couple hours.

“We never would’ve tried to get Sunday sales on our own. Having watched what the distilleries went through a couple years ago just trying to get drink sales in the county, I didn’t think that it would be a good fight for us to take on at the city level,” Russell said.

When she saw Brechwald post about his mission on Facebook, Russell told him she intended to support him in any way she could. This most frequently involved hosting informational sessions for the community at the brewery.

“We filled up a lot of [petition] pages of people within the city limits that wanted the option,” she said. “I do understand that it is very much a personal choice. That’s what it comes down to. So, if there are people who choose not to drink on Sundays or choose not to buy, I completely support that.”

Now that Hopkinsville Brewing Company can operate on Sundays, Russell anticipates more opportunities for sales and events, even if subsequent days aren't as booming as the first. She aims to book a food truck every Sunday for brunch to pair with an exclusive beermosa.

Dustin Wilcox is a television production student at Murray State University. He graduated from Hopkinsville High School in 2019.
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