Brainerd residents voted against increasing the number of on-sale liquor licenses the city can issue.
The vote Tuesday was 56 percent or 2,878 against the referendum and 46 percent or 2,243 for the referendum.
Brainerd currently has 12 on-sale liquor licenses, all issued to establishments. The Brainerd City Council approved putting the item to the voters in hope of being able to draw restaurants such as Red Lobster or Applebee's, dining establishments that also feature bars.
The Brainerd City Council is also in the process of adopting an ordinance amending the city liquor code in order to limit the number of establishments that strictly serve alcohol by requiring that half of all licenses issued will be to bona fide restaurants, where serving of alcohol is only incidental to the principal business.
Brainerd council member Jim Dehen said he was surprised at how close the vote was for the liquor referendum considering the ordinance amending the liquor section of the city code had yet to be adopted by the Brainerd City Council.
"Having that in place and in the books, we can package it better than we did," Dehen said. The ordinance had its second reading by the council Monday. "I think we have a little work left to do on that one."
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