ST. CLOUD - Does St. Cloud have too many bars? That's a comment that comes up from time to time on social media, and on our call-in shows on WJON radio. WJON News looked into the numbers.

First, let's take a look at how many bars St. Cloud has. According to numbers from the city clerk's office, St. Cloud has issued 42 full liquor licenses this year - not including service clubs, and other special licenses. That's a number that really hasn't changed a whole lot over the years. There were 45 in 2009, 41 in 2005, and 41 in 1995.

St. Cloud's population is about 68,000. So that works out to about one liquor license for every 1,600 residents.

City Clerk Gregg Engdahl says nearly all of the liquor licenses are issued to restaurants that also serve alcohol. He says very few are just traditional bars.

So how does St. Cloud compare to other large regional cities?

Duluth has 86 full liquor licenses - or about twice as many as St. Cloud. Duluth's population is a little over 86,000, which means they have about 1 liquor license for every 1,000 residents.

Rochester has 96 full liquor licenses. That community has a population of about 114,000, so it breaks down to about one liquor license for every 1,200 residents in Rochester.

Mankato has 48 full liquor licenses. Their population is much smaller than St. Cloud at 42,000, so they average about 1 liquor license for every 875 residents.

Fargo has about the same number of liquor licenses as St. Cloud at 43. However, their population is much larger at 115,000, so they average about 1 liquor license for every 2,700 residents.

If we go way back in history, according to Bill Morgan's book "Earth Wood, Stone". St. Cloud had 32 "saloons" in downtown St. Cloud in 1908 - population was less than 7000.  And, if you go back to 1889, it had 19 saloons with a per capita of 1 saloon for every 380 citizens.

So, whether St. Cloud has "too many bars" is open to interpretation. But, compared to other towns, St. Cloud isn't all wet.