W.Va. Liquor Law to Bars New Year’s Eve Sales

Local liquor stores in the state could be faced with a reduction in sales this New Year’s Eve due to the festivities falling on Sunday, which will prohibit the purchase of liquor.

Though the holiday will cause a fluctuation in sales, Paul Lish of Smoker Friendly at The Highlands believes it won’t cause a serious problem. “Most people buy it on Saturday and most of my regulars know New Year’s Eve is on a Sunday,” said Lish.

Lish also owns and operates the Smoker Friendly store on Wheeling Island. He believes the holiday will affect the sister store more so than The Highlands location.

“Now, you’re going to have people come on Sunday who don’t realize. and we did turn two people away on Christmas Eve. Considering all in all, it’s going to affect me, but I think my company will be fine,” said Lish.

Lish explained that he does not equate his beliefs with the state when it comes to these regulations. “I don’t agree with the liquor law. … If someone wants to buy liquor that day, then they have to drive to St. Clairsville,” said Lish.

You may purchase beer and wine on New Year’s Eve after 1 p.m., however. The only way one may purchase liquor on New Year’s Eve is if they purchase it in a restaurant setting and consume it on the property.

Wheeling resident Joshua Doty believes the laws in place are “absurd” and unnecessary. “Yes, a simple solution is to buy it on Saturday, but there is absolutely no logical reason that there are different laws on the sale of alcoholic beverages on different days. We took a step forward this past year with the ‘Brunch Bill’ passing, however, we need to get rid of all blue laws, as we shouldn’t be basing laws on religion,” said Doty.

The state Legislature in February 2016 passed a measure known as the “Brunch Bill” allowing businesses with an Alcohol Beverage Control Administration Class “A” license the opportunity to sell liquor, wine and beer as early as 10 a.m. on Sundays — if voters in their respective counties pass a referendum allowing the practice. It wasn’t until fall of last year that the “Brunch Bill” was approved by Wheeling City Council members.

Though West Virginia vendors may serve wine, beer and liquor at an earlier hour, it has yet to be seen if liquor stores may take part in morning distribution.