Tiny Nevada Town Gets OK to Lift Alcohol Sales Ban

The repeal will leave just one town in the state that prohibits alcohol sales.

Alamo Rodeo grounds sign in Alamo, Nevada, Feb. 10, 2023.
Alamo Rodeo grounds sign in Alamo, Nevada, Feb. 10, 2023.
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Alcohol sales will soon be allowed in a tiny Nevada town where religious roots led to a decades-long ban on buying beer, wine and liquor.

Bars still won't be allowed, but stores will be able to sell alcohol in Alamo after the Lincoln County Commission on Tuesday unanimously endorsed a local board vote taken several months ago to repeal a prohibition adopted in 1985, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Many of the approximately 1,100 people who live in the unincorporated jurisdiction about a 90-minute drive north of Las Vegas are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Town Board Chairman Vern Holaday told the Review-Journal ahead of the county commission vote.

The faith, widely known as the Mormon church, preaches abstinence from alcohol.

Alamo's repeal could become effective in about 30 days, Lincoln County District Attorney Dylan Frehner said.

That will leave Panaca as the only remaining town in Nevada to prohibit alcohol sales, the Review-Journal reported. That town of 1,000 people is the Lincoln County seat and is a more than two-hour drive north of Las Vegas.

A handful of communities in neighboring Utah, where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint is based, also prohibit alcohol sales. Voters in Blanding, a rural town of about 3,300 residents that attracts visitors to national parks including the Grand Canyon rejected a 2017 ballot measure that would have allowed beer and wine sales for the first time in more than 80 years. In Hyde Park, population 4,000, voters in 2013 lifted a ban on alcohol sales.

Alamo leaders decided last year they want the local supermarket and gas station to be able to compete with rival businesses outside of town that sell alcohol, Holaday told the county commissioners.

"It's not like there's going to be a bar in every corner in town" he said. County law bans alcohol sales within 1,500 feet (457 meters) of a church, school or other alcohol business.

A Las Vegas-based convenience store chain has proposed adding a motel, gas station and a market selling liquor at a former truck stop it acquired just outside Alamo, Holaday told the Review-Journal. The chain already sells alcohol at a store 7 miles (11 kilometers) away in Ash Springs.

Holaday did not immediately respond to a message left by The Associated Press at his business, the 16-room Alamo Inn.

Varlin Higbee, a county commissioner who owns a ranch is in Alamo, noted in an email that liquor licensees still must meet town and county requirements.

"An over-the-counter bar isn't going to happen in Alamo, zoning laws wont allow it," Higbee told the AP on Wednesday.

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