Dry for a century, Saskatchewan town votes to allow liquor

After being dry for more than 100 years, people in the village of Hepburn, Sask., have voted to allow liquor sales.

Booze could soon be sold at Co-op store in Hepburn

Hepburn, Sask., has voted to approve liquor sales after being dry for more than a century. The local Co-op is applying for a licence. In the distance, the Hepburn Museum of Wheat, located at a closed grain elevator, can be seen. (Google Street View)

After being dry for more than a century, people in the village of Hepburn, Sask., have voted to allow liquor sales.

There's no bylaw that bans booze, that's just the way it worked out. The village of 562 is home to a bible college and was founded by Mennonites who do not drink.

For many decades, no stores have sold booze.

And while many small Saskatchewan towns have hotel beer parlours or "off-sale" outlets that sell beer and wine, that's never been a feature of life in Hepburn.

That will change, however.

This week, 264 people voted and 59 per cent of them (155) said they were in favour of allowing liquor sales.

Town council will now send an application to the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority asking to set up sales in the local Co-Op store.

Hepburn resident Verna Paetkau, 81, was among 109 who voted against the plan, but said she accepts the decision.

"Some people say they're not going to go in the store if they sell it there, but I don't feel that way," she said. "I'm still going to go in."

Hepburn is located about 50 kilometres north of Saskatoon.