ELYRIA — The Giant Eagle supermarket near Midway Mall has completed a recent renovation of its beer and wine department to include sale of high-proof liquor following the transfer of a contract liquor agency license from the closed Paul’s Beverage Warehouse.
The Nov. 20 transfer was confirmed by Matt Mullins, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Liquor Control, who said the liquor agency contract was transferred from JJC Spirits Inc., a company doing business as Paul’s Beverage Warehouse, to Riser Food Co., which operates the beer, wine and liquor sales agency located inside the Giant Eagle store on Midway Boulevard near Midway Mall.
Contract liquor agencies, such as that now operating inside the Giant Eagle store, lease space from the supermarket chain.
“They are akin to the old state (liquor) stores,” Mullins said.
Giant Eagle has held permits for carryout, on-premises, and Sunday sales of beer, wine and low-proof liquor since 2000, according to Mullins.
The contract liquor agency contract now held by the state liquor agency operating inside the Giant Eagle supermarket now allows for the sale of high-proof liquor, which is defined as “intoxicating liquor containing more than 21 percent alcohol by volume,” according to Mullins.
High-proof liquor includes certain varieties of bourbon, vodka and gin.
Calls to Paul’s Beverage Wednesday went unanswered. The Lake Avenue drive-through appeared to be boarded up, and the “Paul’s” was missing from the store’s sign.
Efforts to reach management of the Lake Avenue business were unsuccessful, and calls to the former owner Paul Byers were not returned.
Calls to the Elyria Giant Eagle store for information about the renovated beer, wine and liquor sales area were referred to a corporate spokesman who did not return calls seeking comment.
Greg Owens, an employee of the Giant Eagle state liquor agency operation, said he was told Paul’s was planning to re-open under a different name.
Mullins noted that the former Paul’s Beverage store will not have to re-apply for permits from the Department of Liquor Control if the business is re-opened under a new name by the same ownership.
New owners, however, would have to reapply to the state liquor agency for required permits and licensing.
“Even if there is new ownership, the business may open and begin operating right away, as it generally takes 10 to 12 weeks to do needed background checks on transfers of licenses for new owners,” Mullins said. “We don’t hold up their business during that process.”