When some people post about bringing in outside liquor, what you are actually witnessing is the different liquor laws of various states taking effect. That’s why some people are posting about taking alcohol into restaurants. Each state has the right to create and enforce it’s own laws pertaining to EVERY aspect of the liquor business, including but not limited to, production, sales across state lines form other states, retail restrictions and so on. The people that take their own wine to restaurants are doing so under a concept called BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage). Under this concept, a restaurant has the right to allow outside alcohol to be brought in by patrons to be enjoyed with their meal. The restaurant will usually charge what is called a corkage fee for people who do this. This fee is typically only nominal in charge, although some can be rather substantial. Be certain to ask exactly what the corkage fee is before you partake in this service.
Becoming a BYOB establishment (or not) is generally a decision made by the management of the restaurant. BYOB establishments have turned up in several major cities and many respectable industry resources even go so far as to print special lists of restaurants that are BYOB-friendly. A lot of tourist and travel books are starting to include BYOB listings as well. If you can’t find a listing for your area or city, you can call the restaurant and ask if they allow you to bring in outside alcohol.
However, while the decision to become a BYOB establishment should rest with each restaurant owner, states do have the right to ban this practice entirely. I don’t know how Kentucky feels about the practice, but that might very well be what is happening to you. I can tell you that being in Kentucky, you are likely falling victim to some of the absurd (and in my mind, outdated) liquor laws that apply to certain states in the US. Some states, especially those in the south, even have restrictions that place a maximum percentage of alcohol by volume on beer. And then there are the notorious blue laws banning Sunday sales.
And if this isn’t confusing enough, even if the state of Kentucky allows BYOB establishments to exist, you might be dealing with another unpleasant occurrence that is popular in some states: the dry county.