City of Tuscaloosa Officially OKs Alcohol Sales Inside Bryant-Denny Stadium
The Tuscaloosa City Council approved a concessionaire's application to sell alcohol inside Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuesday, paving the way for sales to begin at the Tide's home games this fall.
The company, Chicago-based Levy Premium Foodservice, oversees concessions operations at all of the University of Alabama's athletic venues and kicked off conversations about alcohol in those spaces when they applied for and were granted a license to sell drinks in Coleman Coliseum.
That went over smoothly enough, but during the application process, a Levy spokesperson mentioned that the company would be back soon enough for a permit to sell inside Bryant-Denny -- a revelation that sparked a chain of events that almost tanked plans for alcohol sales at UA venues entirely.
The city and the University mended fences in June, though, and plans to sell alcohol in some athletic venues are back on track.
The same spokesperson, Herbert Tesch, said most stands outside the Student Section will offer alcohol and other "beer portables" and hawkers will be placed in various spots on the Concourse.
Tesch also said every person buying alcohol will be carded every time they purchase a drink, regardless of age.
In a Monday morning interview ahead of the Tuesday vote, UA President Stuart Bell said he expects in-arena alcohol sales will be a net positive for the school.
"At other campuses, this has actually been a positive experience in terms of safety issues associated with in-stadium or in-arena experiences. It leads to less, let's say, negative consumption prior to coming in, less pregaming, and I think the balance that we've seen is very positive," Bell said. "We expect to see that same positive experience and if we don't, we'll reevaluate what we're doing."
Bell said measures will be taken to ensure things don't get out of hand -- not all athletic venues will sell alcohol, and those that do will have a mandatory cutoff time after which fans will not be able to buy any more beer, wine or hard seltzers.
"We've been able to watch what occurs both at NFL games, professional games, but also within other collegiate atmospheres, and there are many positive steps you can take to make sure it is the best fan experience that you can have," Bell said. "There will be a time when sales will no longer occur and we know from history that is important."
Bell said Bama fans can already buy drinks in other SEC Stadiums and within professional arenas in Atlanta, Dallas and the major cities that host bowl games in the postseason, and the addition of similar sales in Bryant-Denny should not be an earth-shattering affair.
Four members of the council who were present Tuesday voted to grant the license. John Faile voted against the measure and District 3's Raevan Howard and District 7's Cassius Lanier were not in attendance.
The University has yet to say if this will mean alcohol will be available in Bryant-Denny Stadium when the Tide kicks off against Utah State in just 18 days. Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for updates as they become available.