Battle Over Booze in Suwannee County

By: Candace Sweat Email
By: Candace Sweat Email

When it comes to beer, the Brown Lantern Restaurant in Suwannee County is almost guaranteed to have what you like.

But if you're looking for glass of wine or liquor, you'll have to go somewhere else. In fact, you'll have to go to an entirely different county.

But a local organization is looking to change that. The SuwanneeYes! group is a coalition of business owners and community members wanting the ban on wine and alcohol lifted.

"Out of 67 counties we have 62 that are wet and five that are dry. I don't see any huge pitfalls with the ones that are wet. I don't think there's any logical reason that it shouldn't be with the rest of the counties," said Raleigh Brown, owner of The Brown Lantern.

SuwanneeYes! says it's about creating opportunity for growth and revenue.

Some of those living in Suwannee County say they agree that it's time for a change.

"If people want to get a drink, they should have the right to make that decision themselves. And let's face it, if people are going to drink they're simply going to leave the county and spend their money somewhere else to do that," said Sherry Millington, Suwannee County resident.

SuwanneeYes! has collected more than 4-thousand signatures. They need 6,500 to get a county-wide vote on the issue. Brown says he's seen the battle over booze more than once during his 34 years in business. But this time, he says Suwannee Yes may actually get what they want.

Eyewitness News did not find anyone opposing the petition who was willing to go on camera. But many said that religious organizations and churches have been speaking out against it.

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