St. Matthews Liquor Barn ordered to close after long feud, plans to appeal


by Karma Dickerson

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 6:40 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 4 at 1:45 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – After a four-year-long court battle between two popular St. Mathews liquor stores, one has been ordered to shut down by the end of the month. 

When Liquor Barn opened right across the street from Beverage Warehouse, Beverage Warehouse took legal action saying they were too close. In a decision handed down on New Years Eve, the Kentucky Alcohol Beverage Control also known as ABC sided with Beverage Warehouse.

“It's huge to me this is like a David and Goliath story," Greg Anastas said. Anastas owns three beverage Warehouse locations to Liquor Barn’s more than a dozen.

When Anastas opened his Saint Matthews location in 2008, his was the only liquor store in that stretch of Shelbyville Road, in part because of state and local rules requiring liquor stores be 700 feet away from each other.  However, just a year later, Liquor Barn announced plans to open.

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“It was a little bit discouraging it was a little overwhelming I didn’t know exactly what was going on and my understanding of the distance law was that they couldn't do that”, says Anastas.

However, the Saint Matthews division of ABC issued the license. However, now the state board has reversed that decision according to their ruling it all comes down to how distance is measured.  

An attorney for Liquor Barn tells us they measured the shortest safe pedestrian route. The ABC decision didn't specify what was wrong with Liquor Barn's measurement, but ruled no liquor package license should ever have been given to Liquor Barn. 

ABC further alleged that Liquor Barn was aware of the measurement discrepancy and took a calculated risk by deciding to build anyway.

Ken Handmaker, an attorney for Liquor Barn told WHAS11 the ABC decision is vague and biased.

Handmaker says the retailer will appeal the decision.

According to state law, if they do appeal, they're allowed to remain open during the appeals process.  Consequently, Liquor Barn may not in fact close January 27, and this battle may be far from over.