Selling Singles, Part Deux
Thursday, July 17, 2008 3:30:36 PM
Earlier, the editor commented on the banning of "selling singels" matter befoe the City Council. Jeff Harrison, of Modern Liquors, testified. Here it is:
Jeff Harrison/Modern Liquors: Single-Serve Testimony 7/11/08
Good morning Councilmembers. My name is Jeff Harrison, and I operate Modern Liquors, which is located across from the Convention Center at 9th & M NW. I appear before you this morning in opposition to the proposed Single-Serve ban on beer.
It's not that I disagree with you on the rationale behind the proposal, for I do believe such a law would reduce public drunkenness and some of the other problems that accompany these sales; however, I think it's the wrong approach because it unfairly penalizes merchants such as myself who carry a number of high-end craft and import beers and ales, of which many are only available in single bottle format. For example, I sell a 12 oz. beer from the Dogfish Brewery for $10, and a 22oz. beer from the Avery Brewery for $15. (And you don't want to know what some Belgian ales go for.) I can assure you that anyone who is paying that kind of money for a beer will not be drinking it on a street corner.
The law would also penalize the regular citizen who just wants a beer to drink at home. Believe it or not, there are people like this. For example, I have a neighbor who prefers Coors Light in a 24oz. can and another neighbor who prefers Sapporo the same way.
If you eliminate single-serve sales, all it will do is prompt the problem drinkers to pool their money and buy 6-packs, and instead of one empty 22oz. bottle on the curb, you'll have six smaller ones.
I recently discussed the situation with one of my beer reps, and he came up with an interesting compromise. Instead of banning single sales altogether, how about restricting the single serve sales to warm beer only. Unless they're British, it's highly unlikely that the problem drinkers you speak of are will want to throw down a "warm one." I feel this strategy is win-win. Merchants such as myself can continue to sell the high-end beers and ales, while the public drunkenness problem can be minimized.