3 towns in Union county vote in liquor by the drink

By Trent Faris - bio l email

WAXHAW, NC (WBTV)  You'll soon be able to order a stiff drink at more North Carolina restaurants.  Three towns in Union county are no longer completely "dry".  Voters in Waxhaw, Indian Trail and Wingate approved liquor by the drink in Tuesday's election.

It was the third time the vote has gone before voters, this time around on the ballot voters passed the referendum in a big way.  In Waxhaw for instance the referendum received nearly 80 percent of the vote.

The passage of the referendum has resturants in Waxhaw celebrating.

Raymond Castaldi moved his restaurant to Waxhaw from Charlotte 5 years ago. When he moved he could only sell wine, which wasn't a bad thing for an Italian restaurant but some of his customers wanted more.

"They wanted a beer. They wanted a cocktail. A lot of people didn't come because they couldn't drink," said Castaldi.

Across the street over at Rippington's restaurant, owner Martin Sexton had the same problem.

"I know that some people have ordered a beer before to go with a burger or ribs, or what ever and haven't been able to get it they just don't understand why not," said Sexton.

Both say they lose business to Indian Land, Ballentyne and Monroe.

After this vote to allow beer and liquor sales in Waxhaw, both are celebrating.

"Is going to be great for the restaurant and all the business in the area," said Castali.

Liquor by the drink failed three times before at the polls in Waxhaw.  However, in this election voters passed it by almost 80 percent of the vote.

Passing of the referendum also paves the way for ABC stores to open up.  Waxhaw already allowed ABC stores.  Indian Trail and Wingate were hold-offs.

Now that he has the option, Sexton is looking to expand his restaurant next door to open up a neighborhood pub.

"And if we do that we'll be hiring more people and the whole works," said Sexton.

As for Castaldi he plans to start off slow with just beer sales at first, and is ready to start as soon as possible.

"Yes, I'm going to call tomorrow to see if I can get it right away the licence," said Castaldi.

So when will restaurants start serving liquor by the drink?  The Waxhaw town manager, Michael McLaurin, said restaurants have to apply for a permit from the state.  That could take several months.