City seeks public insight for liquor-store tastings
Durango has seen no complaints about its gatherings
A proposed measure to allow liquor store tastings in Cortez is slated for a public hearing the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 8, at City Hall.
The 7:30 p.m. public hearing affords residents the opportunity to voice their opposition or support for the new measure as city leaders weigh whether to allow alcohol, wine and beer tastings at package stores.
If approved, the new municipal ordinance would allow individuals to consume up to four 1-ounce samples of beer or wine and four half-ounce samples of whiskey.
Modeled after a Durango statute, the new law would allow local liquor stores to hold up to 104 tastings annually. The law would prohibit anyone from leaving the premises with an individual sample.
“We have not had a single complaint since we started allowing (tastings) in 2006,” said Durango deputy city clerk Dana Evans. “Only four of our 13 liquor stores have tasting permits.”
Armed with a $100 annual city fee, the four liquor stores in Cortez would be allowed to hosts tasting inside their place of business between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. only. The tastings also are limited to five hours.
Cortez officials voted unanimously last month to pass the new ordinance, pending tonight’s public hearing.
“If this doesn’t work out, you can always rescind the order,” city attorney Mike Green told councilors. “It’s worth trying.”
All liquor store owners must undergo a state-certified server training course to hosts a tasting.
West Slope Liquor store owner Jim Wilson said he has already completed the course, and he is eager to hold his first wine tasting within weeks.
“It’s beneficial to both me and my customers,” he said.
Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane told councilors he did not oppose the measure.
In related news, Council Chambers at City Hall could soon be upgraded with a new video and audio system.
Attending meetings live, many times the audio inside the room is muffled with a raspy type of echo, and the current video system is not designed for broadcast on television.
“The old system has had many problems,” said city manager Shane Hale.
A single bid of just more than $46,000 was received for a digital upgrade of the audio and video system, nearly $29,000 below budget.