Anthony Beadell, a part-time resident of Ephraim, recently wrote a letter urging residents of Ephraim to vote “no” when a referendum is called to allow serving wine and beer at local restaurants.
The letter is of the “sky is falling, the sky is falling” type, in which he tries to make the case that Ephraim’s charm and social values will be doomed if wine and beer are served in restaurants. He writes that he wishes the village to hang on to what it was in the past and forever remain one of the state’s “dry” communities (I believe there are three).
Ephraim will never have a fine restaurant until the village allows wine and beer to be served in eating establishments. In wintertime our community is a largely deserted, wide place along Hwy. 42 passed by people traveling to Sister Bay or Fish Creek.
Although Beadell talks about the evils that would accompany Ephraim’s becoming “wet,” he fails to note that the issue is wine and beer in eating establishments. The state allows the community to be specific and highly regulated as to where and how wine and beer are available.
For 10 years I was on the Ephraim Village Board, five as president. Based on that experience, and more recent observations, here are some facts for Beadell. It wasn’t too many years ago that some people in the village could order and buy beer at our local grocery store. Today visitors often sit down in one of our eating establishments and order a glass of wine or a beer. Upon hearing that Ephraim is dry, some of them walk out and go to Sister Bay or Fish Creek. Over the past few years, I and others have noticed that several restaurants allow patrons to bring in a bottle of wine as long as it is unobtrusive. Glasses are served in which to pour the wine. All of the above events are illegal in the village.
I will vote yes for wine and beer to be served at eating establishments. For example, I would like lodging establishments, such as our “new” Hillside Inn, to be able to welcome and sit down with guests and have a glass of wine with them.
I am absolutely convinced that, over the long run, the availability of wine and beer will be good for Ephraim’s economy. After all, Jesus himself served and drank wine.