LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - After opening a blues and barbecue joint in Lucedale, there was one complaint Pat Jones heard from customers more than any other: "Where's the beer?"
"I've heard that for years," said Jones, owner of Bluesville Barbecue.
After decades of attempts to legalize beer and light wine sales in Lucedale, voters finally approved the measure in December. This week, city aldermen passed an ordinance outlining the rules all businesses must follow if they're going to sell alcohol.
Jones has been an advocate of changing the law. More than anything else, he believes the fight is about keeping revenue in Lucedale.
"If you want a beer with a meal, generally you're going to go where you can get it. So we were losing the meals as well," said Jones.
For Mayor Doug Lee, the issue has always been about economics.
"When you're going to attract business, you've got to give them something to come there for," said Lee.
Lee says a multi-page ordinance with dozens of restrictions will keep the process of issuing licenses very selective.
As for Jones, he said he'll be ready on day one.
"We'll be able to sell as soon as we're legally able," said Jones, who says he's heard people voice their opinions against the ordinance. "And you're always going to have that because of change."
Mayor Lee said he hasn't personally heard from anyone against the ordinance, but if he does, he'll be ready with a response: "If you want beer or wine, pick it up. If you don't want it, leave it on the shelf. It's that simple."
According to Mayor Lee, the first alcohol sales likely won't happen until sometime in March.