Four Duluth liquor stores will each be required to pay a $500 penalty fee for selling alcohol to people under 21 years of age. The Duluth City Council unanimously agreed to dole out the punishment Monday night, in keeping with the recommendations of the city's Alcohol, Gambling and Tobacco Commission.

The violations were documented in February, as a result of a compliance investigation.

Duluth Police Department Public Information Officer Ingrid Hornibrook said: "Our goal is to randomly inspect all licensed businesses like liquor stores once a year, and sometimes, if there's a business that's generating lots of complaints, we'll look into that, too, outside of the regular inspections."

The four businesses cited were:

  • Fitger's Wine Cellar, 600 E. Superior St.
  • Shanty Bottle Shop, 1231 E. Fourth St.
  • Super One Liquor, 210 N. Central Ave.
  • University Liquor, 1603 Woodland Ave.
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In addition to the $500 penalties levied by the council Monday, the licensees had all previously been fined $200 each. The employees involved in the underage sales were individually fined $200 each, as well.

The fees were consistent with city guidelines for a first-time offense.

That's not to say the liquor stores all had unblemished records. This marks the fourth time University Liquor has been cited for selling alcohol to underage customers since 2010. But the previous transgressions occurred when the business was owned by Roto of Duluth Inc. The shop has since been acquired by Duluth Hillside Investment LLC.