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De QUEEN, Ark. — Grocery and convenience stores in Sevier County could be selling beer and wine by February 2021, according to the Arkansas Alcohol Beverage Control Board.

The process for liquor stores in the county will be lengthier and is more competitive but could still occur in 2021, according to ABC.

Sevier County residents voted in alcohol sales for the county on Nov. 3.

Volunteers gathered more than 2,700 petition signatures from registered Sevier County voters in order to get the issue on the ballot, according to the Sevier County Clerk's office.

The next step will be ABC receiving the certified votes, said spokesman Scott Hardin.

Once that step is official, ABC will post announcements that it will be accepting beer and wine permits.

Beer and wine sale permits are unlimited. Once those applications are approved, those stores could be licensed for alcohol sales within 30 to 60 days, Hardin said.

"They could be selling by the middle of February," Hardin said. "It's a pretty routine process."

The process for liquor stores in the county is very different from that for retail stores.

State law limits liquor stores to one for every 7,500 residents. According to the 2010 U.S. census, Sevier County's population numbers just over 17,000 people. That means the county is limited to no more than two liquor stores.

After the application process ends, ABC will hold a blind draw to determine who will receive Sevier County's two liquor-store licenses. ABC said the blind draw is typically held within six months after the end of the application period.

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