Supervisors deny resort status for future gin distillers

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 21, 2017

Keeping with the tradition of denying all requests for resort status, the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors declined to endorse resort status Monday for a proposed gin distillery being constructed off Old Taylor Road.

Rob Forster and Tom Alexander received approval last month for their commercial site plan for the gin distillery dubbed Citizen Project and came before the supervisors again Monday to seek their approval to apply for resort status from the Mississippi Department of Revenue.

Because the business is a distillery, manufacturing gin, they told the board they would not be serving drinks to the public. However, guests touring the facility will be allowed a quarter of an ounce of gin to sample.

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By state law, the business would have to quit manufacturing alcohol to be able to serve it to the public.

“We’re interested in being distillers,” Forster said.

State law says a restaurant or other establishments can only sell alcohol if they are within the city limits. For those establishments that cater to tourists, they can apply for “resort status” from the Department of Revenue to serve alcohol.

The process starts with going to the local governing board to request approval. If denied, the business then gathers 100 signatures from neighbors and submits a request to the Mississippi Department of Revenue, that can override the denial from the local board.

The supervisors have declined to support any resort status requests since Castle Hill applied in 2008 and was granted the status by the Department of Revenue. The Ravine, Goose Creek Clubhouse, The Jefferson and Plein Air were forced to go through MDOR to be granted their resort status.