Convention liquor up for vote

Keystone may soon have another business with a convention liquor license according to town finance officer Cassandra Ott.

K Bar S Lodge is applying for a convention liquor license. A town of 300 is only allowed to have three on-sale liquor licenses. Currently BaRLees, the Ruby House and Grizzly Creek hold those. The town, however, also created an ordinance for convention liquor licenses.

“The Ramada got one for the Front Porch. The other one has remained unused for years,” according to Ott.

That may change shortly.

“We’re really excited to bring more corporate business into Keystone,” said Kyle Olson, general manager at K Bar S Lodge. “The town’s really excited about it. It’s not only going to help us. It’s going to help everybody in town.”

In 2018 the state legislature revamped liquor laws. That move allowed Keystone to adopt changes, shrinking the number of meeting rooms and seats needed for a “convention” based on population size.

Keystone is a class three town. A “convention” space for a town of Keystone’s size must have seating for 150 persons and at least 40 rooms in its establishment.  K Bar S Lodge has three meetings rooms and “can house up to 200 people for corporate groups, meetings, reunions that type of thing,” Olson said.

This is not the first time K Bar S has tried for one of these licenses.

“The thing that the state had said was that we were required to have our buildings connected but then we found out that there were other properties here locally that had convention liquor licenses that their buildings weren’t connected,” Olson said. “When I found that out I inquired with (Ott) again and she had already checked with the state a few days prior and they said if it’s approved by the city attorney then it’s fine.”

The impact on the lodge’s potential revenue is huge.

“We’re really pushing for it because it’s necessary to get a lot of these groups that we go after,” Olson said. “We found that especially with corporate business that a liquor license is really necessary. We lose a lot of business to Rapid City just because they’re that adamant that they want a liquor license. We figure we lose at least three or four weddings a year due to not having this liquor license and a lot more than that for corporate events.”

Assuming K Bar S gets the liquor license Olson said, “It’s (going to) bring 200 people to Keystone that are going to shop downtown. They eat their other meals at other restaurants in town. We’re normally providing a dinner for them maybe one or two of the nights they’re here but they’re normally here three or four nights.”

The additional revenue directly impacts the bed, board and booze tax and could affect the town’s sales tax. The vote for approval is set for the Feb. 5 town board meeting.

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