A northern Minnesota resort owner has withdrawn his bid for a liquor license, citing pressure from a nearby American Indian reservation.
Chris Freudenberg, who owns Roger's Resort, recently asked the Beltrami County Board for a liquor store license. But leaders of the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe opposed his application on the grounds that the store would be too close to their boundaries, where liquor is not sold.
Red Lake leaders argued that a liquor store so close to the reservation would complicate the tribe's longtime struggle against alcoholism. They also asked for commissioners to approve a buffer zone around the reservation where any new liquor sales would be banned.
Freudenberg withdrew his application shortly before the county board was to vote Tuesday night on his request, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. As a result, county commissioners also will not consider the tribe's buffer zone request.
"My first response was to dig into a trench and fight," Freudenberg said. "But when you sit back and think, the tribe has a point."
Freudenberg originally wanted to set up a liquor store to reduce liability insurance costs by keeping his guests off the road when they ran out of beer. He thought the store would prevent drunken driving accidents, but hadn't thought about the reservation.
Since it is illegal to possess alcohol on the reservation, tribe members buying from Roger's might drink their purchases before heading home. "That would just undo what I was trying to do," he said.
Instead, Freudenberg plans to set up a heated beer storage room at the resort, so his guests can bring extra beer and not worry about the cans freezing in midwinter.