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Bryce Jordan Center Beer Sales A Success In First Weekend

In the song “Beer Run,” Garth Brooks says he “can’t stop thinking what the hell they were drinking when they made this county dry.” If this weekend is any indication, Bryce Jordan Center regulars may be wondering the same thing about their arena that Brooks did about his county. With a successful first weekend of beer sales at the BJC, it wouldn’t be surprising for limited liquor sales to continue at the arena.

“Nothing will be firmly known until after all of the concerts have been completed,” university spokesperson Lisa Powers said, “but at this point, it looks like things have run smoothly and there has been nothing out of the ordinary.”

The official numbers aren’t yet in, but initial indications show that incidents involving police and medical responders did not increase as a result of beer sales at three concerts this weekend. The Bryce Jordan Center implemented a strict policy to ensure alcohol was only served to those of age and in limited amounts.

Tables were set up with ID scanners where concertgoers could obtain a bracelet. The neon green wristband had three removable tabs on it, which were snapped off at beer concessions stands. The same ID could not be used twice to obtain a wristband, and there is no obvious way to replace tabs. Employees were also told not to serve alcohol to any patrons who were visibly intoxicated.

While the first weekend on a temporary liquor license was generally a success, there were still naysayers on social media who took issue with the choice to sell beer at six Brooks shows.

“We are aware that a few people took to Twitter with some complaints, but that also happens at any popular concert in general,” Powers said.

She adds that there will be a discussion among the BJC operations staff, administration, police, and public safety officials after next weekend’s three shows complete Brooks’ run at the arena.

“We will compare notes, discuss issues, ensure the best practices have been followed, and determine if there will be next steps,” Powers said.

In March, Powers said that no alcohol will be sold at events drawing primarily students. Brooks was chosen as the “pilot” for a liquor license at the BJC to evaluate alcohol sales with largely of-age audiences. The sales numbers for beer at the six Brooks shows won’t be tallied up and released until after next weekend’s concerts. If all goes well in the final three shows, the arena and university will likely look into selling alcohol at events with similar demographics going forward.

I attended the Friday night Brooks concert, and the beer sales system did one thing very well: keep people from getting drunk. With an $8 clip per beer and a maximum of three bottles — with no more than one at once — it was seemingly impossible for concertgoers to get past buzzed.

It’s certainly possible that a lack of incidents at these shows means lighter restrictions at future BJC events with alcohol sales, but for the time being, it’s a win-win for the arena. Alcohol sales bring more people and more money. With a high price point and a limit of three beers, the arena can rake in plenty of cash without any serious liability. Even so, the very fact that the university was willing to do a test run on beer sales is encouraging enough.

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About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.

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