Patrons, businesses complain about effect of complimentary wine ban

Patrons, businesses complain about effect of complimentary wine ban

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Second Saturday Artwalk had a different flavor.

And some think it's slightly sour.

At Bay Life Gifts, apple cider was the drink on the house. Good, but not what was expected.

Emily Kudirka was in town with family to spend the day shopping.

"We were looking forward to just relaxing, enjoying that and seeing the sights and walking around and just having a nice day," she said. "I mean, the apple juice is fine but the wine was great."

Saturday was the second artwalk since businesses were told they could not offer patrons complimentary wine unless they had a permit.

Crowds continued to line the streets in downtown, but some businesses say for whatever reason, this one didn't produce the kind of patronage as in the past.

"I've not been busy today," said retailer Jude Wheeler. "I don't work every Second Saturday, and I used to work some horrendously, wonderfully busy second Saturdays, but I have not been busy today. At all."

In July, an agent with the state Alcohol Beverage Control wrote citations shutting down the practice.

It's not sitting well with Linda Keenan, owner of California Drawstrings.

"It's not like we give them enough to get smashed," she said. "We give them a little something. They walk around. It's our chance to make some money. The bars, make all the money."

She said she's challenging the policy.

"I own this building, I live in the back," she said. "I have an apartment back there and so I just set up a bar and I invite my friends in who I've invited to Second Saturday to have a drink. So if they want to have a drink. So if they want to come arrest me, come get me."

Donna Snow of Saucier comes to Second Saturday about every other month. The complimentary wine was not the main attraction.

"Just getting out and truly getting to meet people is the biggest draw to this but to restrict something this menial as drinking a glass of wine? I think that's kind of petty."

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