A bill before the Arizona Senate would allow the state to further increase the rate of liquor licenses as counties add population.
With the U.S. Census Bureau saying Maricopa County is now the fastest-growing county in the country, the growing pains are starting to be felt.
Currently, Series 7 liquor licenses—permitting the sale of beer and wine for onsite consumption and to drink at home—can only be allotted at a rate of one license per every 10,000 residents of a county, reports the Arizona Daily Star.
With the boon of craft beer and wine, and the popularity of offering these drinks at locations like salons and bridal shops, the demand for a Series 7 license is even higher—but the availability is low. Restaurants also compete for these licenses, although they also have access to a Series 12 license, only adding to the demand.
A provision of HB 2337 would allow one additional Series 7 license every time a county’s population grows by 5,000, for the next five years.
Proponents of the bill feel it would help open up the market to meet demand, without hindering competition or negatively affecting neighborhoods.
The bill has passed the House and the Senate Committee on Commerce and Public Safety, and is now before the full Senate.
If passed, the provision would benefit primarily the fastest-growing areas of the state, like Maricopa County, with liquor licenses increasing mostly in the urban areas that see large influxes of people.