The village of Forest Park has created two new classifications of liquor licenses, one for businesses that are not bars or restaurants but hold on-site events that involve liquor, and the other for special events in the village.

We need to “catch up with the markets,” said Mayor Rory Hoskins who also serves as liquor commissioner.

The first new liquor classification addresses businesses that don’t routinely sell liquor but do host private events at which liquor is served. In some cases, said Hoskins, such venues would promote a package that included dinner and drinks. But the question of whether the business was making money off the sale of liquor during these events, which would necessitate it to have a liquor license, was brought up by other merchants.

“It’s a gray area,” said Hoskins. “Are they, as the operator, making money off the sale of alcohol?”

As a result, village attorneys and Hoskins, who anticipates more businesses that might operate in this way, created a new liquor classification, Class O (Off Site Caterer) License. As stated in the amended village code, “This license shall authorize the sale and service of alcoholic liquor for consumption not on the licensed premises as an incidental part of the food service, as part of a private function or event, where prepared meals and alcoholic liquor are sold as part of an agreed upon package price.”

For example, if an event were held at a location that doesn’t operate as a bar or restaurant already licensed to serve liquor, and that event included dinner and drinks for a certain purchase price, this would be covered under the Class O liquor license, which costs $1,000 annually.

The second new liquor classification relates to special events like the Casket Races and “other outdoor events where alcohol is present,” said Hoskins. 

“Our current licensing didn’t necessarily cover these situations. For the Casket Races, the Chamber asked the Mayor’s Office if it would be OK to have a vendor sell alcohol on public way,” said Hoskins.

He and village attorneys discussed Forest Park’s possible legal exposure. In almost all cases like this, said Hoskins, special event holders have gotten a state license to serve alcohol, but the village wanted a local license as well for better coverage.

“There was always insurance, so we didn’t feel like there was much exposure, but this has been in the works for a while,” Hoskins said. “We are trying to accommodate the demand for liquor consumption on the street in public way, of course in an orderly and limited fashion.”