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Borough Liquor Referendum Passes

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa—New Wilmington voters approved a liquor referendum in Tuesday’s election ending the borough’s status as a “dry” community.  The final vote reported was 240-114. 

For nearly two decades similar referendums went to the ballot and were rejected. But this time voters opted for the change.

The owners of The Tavern on the Square worked with other businesses and community groups to advocate for the referendum.   After the vote totals were announced, they went to social media thanking voters.

“We are humbled and thankful for the community support of the alcohol referendum, which passed with a decisive ‘Yes’ vote,” wrote Todd and Alma Ulicny in a Facebook post. “The Tavern team is also very grateful to the community-based committee which worked very hard to spread the word regarding economic change and benefits for the New Wilmington business district. You are all in our hearts!”

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) identifies the policy of maintaining “dry municipalities” as those that ban the sale of wine, spirits, and malt and brewed beverages.  When the U.S. ended Prohibition, Pennsylvania allowed municipalities to decide what to do about alcohol sales.  New Wilmington was one of those that opted to stay dry– and it continued to remain that way since 1933.

What’s next for a restaurant or bar to start up a cocktail menu in New Wilmington?  The PCLB must receive the certified election results before any business applies for a liquor license.  State regulators cannot issue new licenses but can approve the transfer of existing ones in Lawrence County.

Business owners like the Ulicnys tell the community they’re planning to make changes that will allow them to grow.

“We are excited to begin this next chapter at the Tavern on the Square Restaurant. There is great comfort in knowing that we may now construct a plan to fully satisfy the demands of our discerning guests and elegantly implement this plan while preserving our historic restaurant’s place in this community.

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