Shorewood officials have given the final OK to a work-around aimed at offsetting the hefty $10,000 cost of a reserve Class B liquor license.
The new grant program approved unanimously by village trustees Monday comes on the heels of NaNa Asian Fusion paying $10,000 for a Class B liquor license, allowing the sushi and Asian cuisine restaurant to open with a full liquor bar.
Last spring when Salvatore’s Pizza opened its doors in Shorewood, it was issued the village's 14th and last $600 Class B license. State law allots municipalities a set number of Class B licenses. Once those are used, municipalities can issue reserve Class B liquor licenses, which are required to be sold for no less than $10,000. Class B licenses allow establishments to serve hard liquor, beer and wine.
The $10,000 cost of the license is a one-time charge and the license can be renewed annually for $600.
So when NaNa Asian Fusion came to town, it became the first establishment in Shorewood to have to fork over $10,000 for a Class B liquor license.
After NaNa paid the thousands for a reserve license, Shorewood officials began discussing a grant program to offset the cost.
Officials have said forcing businesses to shell out $10,000 for a liquor license just because another shop set up in Shorewood before them is unfair, and it could adversely affect how prospective business developers and owners view the business climate in the village.
Under the grant program, a business seeking a reserve Class B liquor license would pay the $10,000 up front, then apply for the grant. If approved, Shorewood would give the licensee back up to $9,400, with the village retaining $600 — or the amount Shorewood would otherwise charge a business for a regular Class B liquor license.
The Village Board will have the final authority over approval of any grants under the program, according to Village Attorney Ray Pollen.