Tribune-Courier General Manager
CALVERT CITY – Patrons of the Harbor Lights Restaurant at Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park can now enjoy an alcoholic beverage with their meal, something that was unimaginable and illegal just a few months ago.
Last week the state park got the green light from the state Alcohol Beverage Control Board to add a complete menu of alcoholic drinks to their fare and on Friday began serving beer, wine and mixed drinks.
The move comes just eight weeks after KDV’s annexation into the Calvert City limits. Calvert City is Marshall County’s only “moist” community.
Kentucky Dam Village now joins a number of lakeside businesses in neighboring counties which have thrived in recent months with the addition of alcohol sales during the peak of tourism season. In Marshall County, Harbor Lights is one of only two restaurants serving alcoholic beverages.
KDV Park Manager Scott Ratzlaff said the liquor license allows one more amenity his staff can offer guests of the facility, making the park more attractive in the very competitive arena of bidding for convention and meeting business.
“It’s another box we can check off when we get a bid form for groups looking to use our facility for a meeting,” said Ratzlaff. “The business community wants to know if you have a facility that serves alcohol when they look for a place to hold meetings. This is good for the economy of Marshall County.”
Ratzlaff also said the park attracts a large number of tourists from outside the area who want to experience Kentucky while they’re here.
“When you think of Kentucky you think of horses and bourbon,” said Ratzlaff. “We are now serving Kentucky bourbon, as well as wine from area wineries. We think our visitors will enjoy that.”
Preparations for alcohol service began weeks ago at Kentucky Dam Village. Ratzlaff said his staff has received STAR (Server Training in Alcohol Regulations) training to identify patrons who should not be served.
“We aren’t looking to be the town tavern,” said Ratzlaff. “We are priced to make sure that doesn’t happen and our servers are trained to avoid that.”
Marshall County voters rejected a local option on county-wide legalized alcohol sales by a margin of just 695 votes in 2012.
By-the-drink liquor sales in dining facilities with 100 or more seats were legalized in Calvert City in 2004.
In 2011 Kentucky began allowing state parks to sell alcohol by the drink in communities which were already wet or moist. With most of Kentucky’s 51 state parks in dry communities only a handful were affected by the 2011 change in policy – which came about as a way to boost sales of food, overnight lodging, golf course usage and convention center business in Kentucky’s state parks system.
Ratzlaff said in addition to the by-the-drink license in the restaurant, the park has also obtained licensure that will permit the service of alcohol in the Kentucky Dam Convention Center. The license does not affect the Kentucky Dam Village Golf Course.