Chico Liquor License Controversy

Jun 28, 2013 8:37 PM

The Chico City Council could make a major statement in the next week when it comes to alcohol problems in the city, but it could lead to a major loss for a Chico businessman.
"For me it is harder to understand why they would say no as opposed to give us a chance to usher in something different," Winchester Goose owner Rob Rasner said.
Rob Rasner has put about $125,000 dollars into his latest business venture, the Winchester Goose.
The idea is a craft beer bar with a small menu.
Rasner thought he was on his way when he bought Bustolini's Deli last November and the liquor license along with it, but after eight months of conversation with police he says he just found out in recent weeks that Chico’s police chief is not recommending the council approve the license.
"This is something that should have been brought to my attention at the beginning of the process. I needed multiple people to say no, but the reality is everybody said it is okay," Rasner said.
Rasner could still earn the approval from the council on Tuesday if they deem it a convenience or necessity for the area.
But, with the council recently denying a license to the Mangrove Mini-Mart, Rasner could face an uphill battle.
"We have to address the problem or we've got blood on our hands and this is the way we've got discretionary authority to do that," Councilman Randall Stone said.
Councilman Randall Stone says the Winchester Goose's case is different from the mini marts, because it involves a license that already exists in the city.
He says he will still take a long hard look at the benefits and potential problems that would come with a new bar.
"At what point do we say okay, but from here on out we are going to enforce the rules," Stone said.
Stone says the biggest issue for him is that the City of Chico already has more than twice the recommended liquor licenses for a city of its size.
He needs to know the new bars will not contribute to the city's current problem.
“If they can demonstrate to us that they're a partner in helping solve that problem then that makes sense," Stone said.
"I don't mind if the Winchester Goose is the new face of responsible drinking in Chico," Rasner said.
The council is scheduled to discuss the license issue at Tuesday’s meeting which begins at 6:30 p.m.


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