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updated: 6/17/2014 5:52 PM

St. Charles may allow liquor sales outside Scarecrow Fest

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  • Video: St. Charles & Liquor Licenses

  • While scarecrows dominate St. Charles festival inside, at least one St. Charles business hopes it can market itself with liquor sales for outdoor dining outside the festival grounds.

      While scarecrows dominate St. Charles festival inside, at least one St. Charles business hopes it can market itself with liquor sales for outdoor dining outside the festival grounds.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • St. Charles liquor commissioners, including, from left, Alderman Rita Payleitner Mayor Ray Rogina and Alderman Maureen Lewis, spoke in favor of creating a new liquor license allowing local businesses to host their own events during Scarecrow Fest in the fall.

       St. Charles liquor commissioners, including, from left, Alderman Rita Payleitner Mayor Ray Rogina and Alderman Maureen Lewis, spoke in favor of creating a new liquor license allowing local businesses to host their own events during Scarecrow Fest in the fall.
    James Fuller | Staff Photographer

 
 

What's good for the Blue Goose may be good for St. Charles businesses once they take a gander at a new liquor license the downtown grocer wants to create.

Blue Goose President Paul Lencioni pitched the license Monday night to the St. Charles Liquor Commission. He billed it as a way to take advantage of the thousands of people who come to the city for Scarecrow Fest each year.

Blue Goose is on the fringe of the typical location for Scarecrow Fest, and Lencioni said the license will allow the Blue Goose to offer its own outdoor food attraction that could lure people over from the main festival path.

"The purpose of the Scarecrow Festival is to bring a lot of people to town to create new retail relationships," Lencioni said. "We want to put our best food forward and show them all the cool things we can do."

The new license would be available to large establishments, such as grocers, that offer retail sales of packaged alcohol. The license allows for the creation of catered events where beer and wine will be served in a roped-off area by trained servers.

Lencioni envisions having a section of the Blue Goose parking lot where people can sample or purchase meals prepared by the store's chefs. Those meals could be paired with beer or wine.

"It's an idea to earn an ongoing customer following," Lencioni said. "I'm doing this to earn the affection, the business of people who may not have understood what the Blue Goose intends to be."

Lencioni said the primary focus will be food, but he did concede there may be some sales of beer and wine that occur without food.

That may be an obstacle when the new licenses come before the full city council for a vote. Lencioni also said he would not want to put an age restriction, such as 21 or older, on the license because he wants to have a family atmosphere, not a beer-garden party.

The five-member liquor commission all spoke in favor of the new license. Mayor Ray Rogina said that if the license is created, he hopes far more businesses than the Blue Goose create their own events.

Commissioner and Alderman Maureen Lewis said if the Blue Goose is successful in its endeavor, it could be a new catalyst for the Scarecrow Fest.

"I like the idea, and it's nice to see businesses embrace the festivals rather than complaining about them," Lewis said.

Scarecrow Fest is in October. Rogina indicated the commission and city council will take time to consider the full implications of the new license. while remembering Lencioni's need to plan.

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