Thanks to a Pair of Walmart Heirs, You Can Buy a Beer in Benton County Arkansas

benton-county-2013

Sometimes we forget that history doesn’t change all at once.  There are little pockets of the past that linger untouched by the tides of time, throwbacks to a time that most of the world has left behind.

One such time-pocket is Benton County Arkansas, which yesterday began selling alcohol for the first time in about 70 years.  That’s right – you can buy pot legally in Colorado and Washington State, but up until yesterday you couldn’t buy a beer an a large swath of Arkansas. 

The effort to switch Benton County from “dry” to “wet” was spearheaded by the group Keep Dollars in Benton County, which spent $660,657 toward the effort, with most of that coming out of the checking accounts of Tom and Steuart Walton, the grandkids of Walmart founder Sam Walton.

These Walmart heirs were opposed by the group Keep Benton County in the Stone Age Citizens United to Preserve Benton County, which mustered only $1,265 towards the effort to keep the sale of alcohol illegal in the county.  The measure was voted on November 7th of last year, and passed with 66% of the popular vote. The first sales permits were issued Wednesday of this week.

A study by the University of Arkansas estimated that legalizing alcohol sales will bring $33 million dollars to the county each year in both sales revenue and jobs (140 of which are estimated to be created), and will have a one-time economic impact of $14 million dollars as retailers get up and running. The state alcohol commission believes the county has room for about 55 liquor stores, but those stores aren’t expected to open until some time this summer.

No word yet on if Goose Island will be commemorating the occasion with a limited edition Benton County Brand Stout, but if they are, rest assured they’ll produce it overseas using cheap Chinese labor and pressure their suppliers to provide the ingredients needed to brew the beer as cheaply as possible, even if corners have to be cut.  This is Walmart country, after all.

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Categories: Beer, News

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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4 Comments on “Thanks to a Pair of Walmart Heirs, You Can Buy a Beer in Benton County Arkansas”

  1. January 18, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Funny how Walmart puts forth this image of American wholesomeness (or used to 15-20 years ago), but making money trumps all other motivations. Several of the heirs live here in Columbia, MO. They own large amounts of land here in town as one would expect. However, most of that land remains empty as they hope to keep the competition out and eventually turn our lovely downtown into their own personal shopping center. They make me sick.

    • January 18, 2013 at 11:31 am #

      Yeah, I have no love for the Walton and what they’ve done to this country. It must suck to have that amplified to the degree you do in Columbia.

    • January 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

      The Waltons are also why Mizzou named it’s new basketball arena (Paige Center) after a college cheater.

  2. January 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    There were/are still places like that? Damn………….

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