Liquor outlets in Nebraska communities near South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian reservation where alcohol is banned have seen sales boom since beer stores in the border town of Whiteclay closed.
The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission requested data from distributors after ordering an end to beer sales in Whiteclay in April. The figures show that overall beer sales in northwestern Nebraska counties have declined between April and June despite Gordon, Hay Springs and Chadron increasing their sales, and Rushville seeing a tripling in sales.
Rushville Mayor Chris Heiser says closing the stores is “not solving the problem”. But Liquor Control Commission Executive Director Hubert Rupe says there have not been the complaints of vagrancy, violence and drunken behavior that once plagued Whiteclay. Supporters say the larger communities have the ability to pass
local laws to better police the alcohol sales.
The Whiteclay store owners have challenged the closings, and a hearing before the Nebraska Supreme Court is set for Aug. 29th.