Too much alcohol in Tryon?

Published 11:12 pm Monday, August 21, 2017

Farmers market requests to have beer and wine;

public questions number of town events with alcohol

TRYON – During a discussion about allowing Tryon’s farmers market to sell alcohol, some of the public said they are tired of every event in Tryon having to serve alcohol.

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Tryon Town Council met Tuesday, Aug. 15 and considered, but tabled, a request by the farmers market to sell beer and wine.

The farmers market recently moved from Wednesday mornings at Harmon Field, to Thursdays at the Tryon Depot from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Tryon Town Manager Zach Ollis said the farmers market asked the town if they could sell or give away alcohol.

“They believe beer and wine sales could boost attendance,” Ollis said. “They are trying to mimic markets such as in Asheville.”

Resident Mary Prioleau said she is so tired of Tryon always involving alcohol in everything.

She said Tryon needs family oriented events.

Resident Joyce Kimpton said someone made that same comment to her earlier that morning.

“That everything Tryon does is going to concern alcohol,” Kimpton said.

Kimpton said Tryon’s Beer Fest is roped off and has an age limit to get in. She asked if Tryon is going to rope off the farmers market and discourage kids from what people have been trying to encourage them to attend.

“I think we have enough opportunities for alcohol without throwing it into the farmers market,” Kimpton said.

At the beginning of the discussion, commissioner Bill Crowell said he’d like to see the vineyards come sell their wine at the farmers market.

Commissioner Crys Armbrust said no one can deny that wine is important in North Carolina, with Polk County having four vineyards.

“If they want to promote it at our farmers market, I see no problem with it,” said Armbrust.

Commissioner Bill Ingham said he doesn’t mind wine, but he doesn’t want to see coolers of Budweiser at the farmers market.

Tryon mayor Alan Peoples suggested the farmers market tying in the alcohol sales with Tryon’s First Thursday events as a trial and see how it works. Peoples also said he doesn’t have a problem with someone sipping and tasting wine, but like Ingham, he doesn’t want to see Bud Light there.

Christine Cowles asked if the town would put some type of perimeter if they allowed alcohol on First Thursdays and if so, who would be the person to control that?

She also asked about insurance. Cowles said people are going to want to go down the stairs in front of the depot or down the railroad tracks with alcohol, and the tracks are private property.

Armbrust said the town shouldn’t make it complicated by only allowing on First Thursdays. He said the farmers market has asked for a blanket request.

Someone from the audience also said that there are local breweries here too, meaning, if the town allows local vineyards to sell wine, shouldn’t they also allow local breweries to sell beer.

Ingham said the grapes for these wineries are grown here. The hops are not. Ingham said if the town allows anything it should start with the vineyards first and see if there are any problems.

Cowles asked if the farmers market has asked Columbus or Saluda to sell alcohol at their markets.

Ollis said he didn’t know but they may not want to include alcohol at the one Columbus because it’s early Saturday mornings.

“Maybe we have too much alcohol,” Ollis said. “At the end of the day they thought it was something that would benefit the farmers market and it’s my job to take everything to the board.”

Ollis said he could bring the item back to next month’s meeting and staff could get answers to questions like insurance, roping off the area and age limits.

The farmers market also asked to build a pergola above one half of the depot. The pergola would have been a wooden structure to provide shade and growing space for grapes or herbs.

None of Tryon commissioners said they were in favor of any structures being built at the depot.

Ingham said at the end of the meeting he doesn’t want to appear that council is tabling everything, but the more information the better. He said he wanted some time before making a decision on allowing alcohol at the farmers market to canvas residents and see how they feel.