LOUISVILLE, Ky. (News Release) -- Kentucky's ban on the sale of wine and spirits in grocery stores and quick service food marts has been ruled unconstitutional.
Judge John Heyburn of the United States District Court, Western District of Kentucky, Louisville Division, made his ruling Tuesday regarding the constitutionality of a long-standing Kentucky state statute that prevented Kentucky grocery and fuel retailers from applying for wine and spirits licenses issued by the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC).
The basis for the Court’s ruling is that the Kentucky licensing statute violates the equal protection provisions of both the federal and state constitutions by prohibiting grocery and gasoline retailers from applying for wine and distilled spirits licenses. The Court held that there is no rational basis for distinguishing among retailers and permitting all retailers except for grocers and fuel sellers to apply for the limited number of licenses available.
A team of lawyers from Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, led by one of its partners, Steve Pitt, on behalf of their clients, Maxwell's Pic-Pac and the Food with Wine Coalition, argued that the regulation violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Kentucky grocery and fuel retailers will now be able to apply for and obtain wine and spirits licenses by meeting the same established criteria that all other license applicants must meet.
Click to see the memo and opinion by Judge John Heyburn.