Ask Paducah - Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Laws within City of Paducah

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Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Laws within City of Paducah

City Clerk Tammy SandersonAlcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) laws are put in place to protect the public by regulating the alcoholic beverage industry through licensing, education, and enforcement.  The laws also work to combat youth access to alcoholic beverages.  Businesses including restaurants, package stores, and distilleries must be licensed through the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and through the City of Paducah if they want to operate within Paducah’s city limits.  For this edition of Ask Paducah, City Clerk/Deputy ABC Administrator Tammy Sanderson provides an overview of the system and explains the recent ABC law changes. 


What training is required for servers who sell alcoholic beverages by the drink?  How did the training requirement change recently?  The training is alcoholic beverage training.  According the Paducah Code of Ordinances, someone who is a server, seller, or simply taking orders for alcoholic beverages by the drink must take a training course.  Paducah recognizes four programs:  Learn to Serve, ServSafe Alcohol, STAR, and TIPS.  STAR training is offered through the State of Kentucky in the form of either online training or in person classes.  We prefer STAR since it covers Kentucky laws.  Servers and employers need to be aware of a change the City made this month.  A new employee must complete one of the four training programs within 30 days after beginning employment.  Prior to this recent change, the training had to be completed within 60 days.  Servers then need be recertified every three years.

This training is beneficial for the server, the employer, and the customers.  The training provides an awareness of how to identify fake id’s and helps servers recognize when a person has reached an intoxication level that could pose a liability to the business and a safety hazard to the public.  The training also covers the variety of laws regarding alcohol and explains the health concerns related to alcohol consumption especially how alcohol can affect a pregnancy.


How many types of licenses are there in Paducah and how are they classified?   The ABC laws are complex with a variety of license categories. The ABC licenses are broadly grouped into non-quota and quota licenses.  The State allows only a specific number of quota licenses in the McCracken County wet area.  Quota licenses are then divided into package licenses and retail by the drink.  For the non-quota category, there are several subcategories including distillers, distributors, rectifiers, wholesalers, caterers, bottling house, and malt beverage.  Due to the complexity and the numerous categories, I spend a lot of time reviewing applications before submitting them to the State for approval.  My goal is to help businesses submit a complete and accurate application. 


How did the permissible operating hours recently change?  Also this month, the Paducah Board of Commissioners amended sections of Paducah’s ABC Ordinance as a result of the passing of Senate Bill 11 into law during the 2016 Kentucky legislative session.  Alcohol can now be sold by the drink on Sundays two hours earlier for hotels, motels, and restaurants with non-quota 2 licenses.  Those licensed businesses can now serve from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.  It also makes Sunday sales by the drink permissible for quota retail drink licenses that are considered to be athletic facilities and for distilleries that hold a non-quota 3 license.  Another change permits licensed distilleries to sell souvenir packages of distilled spirits produced by that distillery on Sundays from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. 


If an organization is planning a public event, can alcohol be served?  Yes, there are two ways in which alcohol can be served at a public event.  First, the organization could hire an ABC licensed caterer.  The other way is to apply for a special temporary license or a special temporary auction license.  Organizations are encouraged to start the temporary license process a few weeks before an event since the State requires nearly two weeks for application review.  This temporary license process is mainly for non-profit organizations. 


Election Day is coming up Tuesday, November 8.  Can ABC licensed businesses serve alcohol on that date?  Yes, ABC licensed businesses in the City of Paducah can serve alcohol on Election Day.  In 2013, the City amended its ordinance to allow the sale of alcohol during the hours polls are open for a primary, regular, school, or special election.  Paducah made that change after the State gave cities the authority to determine if they want to allow alcohol sales on election days. 


For more information about the City of Paducah Alcohol and Beverage Control ordinances (Chapter 6 of the Paducah Code of Ordinances), visit or call Tammy Sanderson at 270-444-8506.  


Do you have an idea for Ask Paducah? 

Contact Public Information Officer Pam Spencer at or 270-444-8669.

(Edition 9 – September 30, 2016)