Letter: A glass of wine with dinner

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To the Editor:

I moved to Cannon County a few years ago. Since then, I have seen changes I would not imagined possible: first the approval of beer sales inside the Woodbury city limits (both at a retail and restaurant level), then a county referendum to allow Short Mountain Distillery to begin operations, and most recently the approval by Woodbury voters to allow the operation of liquor stores.

This County has a long agricultural history. That history includes the production of moonshine, homemade beer, and homemade wines. The conversion of agricultural bounty into fermented beverages allows for the preservation of nature’s gifts. Those products are shelf stable for a period much longer than the associated crops and are more easily transported.

Those products bring a higher value to the producer. Wines, beers, and moonshine convert produce (grapes, hops, and corn) into finished goods. Those products bring a higher price at market (than their underlying sources) and speak to the local tastes and brewing talents and experience of the community.

Now circulating throughout the community is a petition to allow the sale of wine by the glass and liquor by the drink. State law lumps those two beverages into a single category. In order for the petition to have impact 400 or so signatures from registered voters are needed. Approximately 200 signatures have already been collected.

With enough petition signatures, a referendum will go on the November ballot asking the County voters to approve or disapprove businesses’ ability to sell Wine by the Glass and Liquor by the Drink. Given other related laws on the books, the referendum would apply to the entirety of Cannon County.

Fermented beverages are a part of Cannon history and culture. Those drinks can be part of our future economy supporting farmers and new tourism, food venues and generating sales tax dollars.

I encourage you to ask around for someone who is carrying a petition (there are many) and sign your name. Your signature is needed by August 15. A petition is available at The Scoreboard.

Mike Kerwin, Owner/chef of
The Scoreboard Restaurant

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