When they held a referendum in the little town of Potter, New York, to determine if one of the town's restaurants, which already sold beer in its attached convenience store, could sell brewskis in the restaurant itself, well, hijinks ensued:
State alcoholic beverage control laws require that whenever a town wants to expand the way it sells alcohol, it must ask voters five questions — “stupid questions,” according to the town supervisor, Leonard Lisenbee, a retired federal game warden who has been in office six years and who characterized the state-mandated wording as post-Prohibition-era legalese.
The questions, requiring more than 300 words, ask whether alcohol should be allowed in a variety of settings, including a hotel and, separately, a “summer hotel.” “Shall any person be authorized to sell alcoholic beverages at retail to be consumed on premises licensed pursuant to the provisions of Section 64 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law?” was the relevant one to the Hitchin’ Rail. But there was also “Shall any person be authorized to sell alcoholic beverages at retail, not to be consumed on the premises, where sold in the town of Potter?” which relates to stores like the Federal Hollow.
“I read it and I couldn’t understand it, and I’ve got a college education,” Mr. Lisenbee said. “When voters get confused, they vote no.”
And they did.And so, the town of Potter brought back Prohibition.
The voters said no to all five questions, not only keeping the Hitchin’ Rail’s restaurant from serving beer and wine, but also blocking both stores from selling it, upon the expiration of their current licenses. Which means that on July 1, when the Federal’s license expires, the closest six-pack available for purchase will be in a town 10 miles away.