SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The way your favorite Sioux Falls watering hole might get a liquor license is changing.
Previously, Sioux Falls bars and restaurants received a city liquor license through a random drawing. But now, liquor licenses will go to the highest bidder.
“The sealed bid process puts the power in the hands of the bidder instead of a random lottery which is essentially a game of chance,” said Dave Pfeifle with the city attorney’s office.
Right now, there are 130 on-sale and 127 off-sale liquor licenses issued. On-sale licenses apply to a bar or restaurant, while an off-sale license allows for the sale of a drink that will be consumed off-site, such as from a gas station. The minimum bid for an off-sale liquor license is $500, while the minimum bid for an on-sale liquor license is considerably higher: $240,646.
The city is going to have seven on-sale liquor licenses and 10 off-sale liquor licenses up for bid next week; bidding begins on Monday morning and ends on Wednesday, August 23.
“By our population numbers now, by state law, we are allowed to offer those 10 and seven more licenses,” Pfeifle said.
“I think the big thing to remind people is, yes, the time frame, ’cause we will only accept them during that window,” said Jamie Palmer, licensing specialist with the City of Sioux Falls. “And the other big thing is to make sure that they have to give it to somebody in person. They can’t just drop it off. They can’t mail it in.”
Palmer doesn’t think this will be dramatically different for bars and restaurants.
“I don’t believe so,” Palmer said. “It’s just another avenue to get these licenses out there.”
An application fee of $100 applies for both the on-sale and off-sale liquor licenses.