Hendricks County must be an underserved market for carryout alcohol sales, judging from the nearly $1 million shelled out by a few retailers to snag a handful of package liquor permits that just became available in the growing county.
An auction conducted Friday by the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission brought in a total of $3.8 million for 279 beer, wine and liquor permits that sold throughout the state.
Of those, four package-liquor permits in Hendricks County netted $995,000—about a quarter of the total amount brought in by the auction.
“That just seemed to be the hotspot of this year’s auction,” said Brad Rider, vice president of Indianapolis-based United Package Liquors, which paid a record $450,000 for a package-liquor permit in Brownsburg.
It also paid $220,000 for a similar permit in Plainfield, while Indianapolis-based Crown Liquors forked over $230,000 for one in Avon. Another company, listed as Jo-Fran Inc. in the auction results, paid $95,000 for a package liquor permit in Danville.
Additional permits became available in growing Indiana counties based on fresh 2010 U.S. Census figures.
In Marion County, restaurant proprietors bid on up to 101 new three-way permits to sell beer, wine and liquor.
The so-called three-way permits were scarce in certain parts of the city, and had to be purchased on the open market from existing operators, because of a state quota system that never recognized Unigov.
Indianapolis isn’t necessarily growing by leaps and bounds. But using census figures, the commission decided to recognize the boundaries of the city of Indianapolis as those areas serviced by the newly consolidated Indianapolis Fire Department.
The new permit calculation for Indianapolis takes into account more than two-thirds of the geographic area of Marion County, excluding only the towns of Beech Grove, Lawrence, Southport and Speedway. The result: 94 new three-way permits available for Indianapolis, five more for Lawrence, and one more each for Beech Grove and Speedway.
The glut of three-way restaurant licenses in Marion County enabled owners to purchase all 94 for just the minimum bid price of $1,000 each.
No package-liquor licenses were available in Marion County. The number of those permits—152—exceeds the new quota of 78. The state won’t revoke existing permits, which still can be bought and sold among retailers.
In Brownsburg, United Package Liquors already owned the only other two liquor stores in the suburb west of Indianapolis and will be searching for property to open its third.
In Plainfield, United Package plans to open a store in a 27,000-square-foot retail center it owns at Stafford Crossing and State Road 267.
The state will use proceeds from the auction to fund the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission and for alcohol enforcement efforts.