“High-octane” booze sales may be voluntarily restricted on Beacon Hill

Photo (not of Beacon Hill, as far as we know) by Steve Snodgrass via Creative Commons/Flickr.
Retailers in Beacon Hill, Sodo, and Lake City would be asked to voluntarily refrain from selling certain “high-octane” alcohol products during morning hours under a pilot program currently being developed by Mayor Mike McGinn’s office.

Under this voluntary plan, sales of fortified wine and some beers would be prohibited between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m., seven days a week. Bars and restaurants would not be included. Community organizations would be notified if local businesses don’t participate.

According to a report by Casey McNerthney at seattlepi.com, the project will involve a partnership with several alcohol distributors who will encourage local retailers to participate in the program, and will keep track of the program’s progress. The program is still in the planning stages, but could be operating as soon as May.

The voluntary program would not preclude the city from eventually creating an Alcohol Impact Area (AIA) on Beacon Hill if necessary. In an AIA, retailers may be restricted from selling certain types of alcoholic beverages that are linked to local chronic public inebriation problems. This is the list of products currently banned in AIA areas. A group of Beacon Hill neighbors began a drive last year to form an AIA.

6 thoughts on ““High-octane” booze sales may be voluntarily restricted on Beacon Hill”

  1. That photo COULD be of Beacon Hill. We have a bus stop in front of our house, and the parking strip is lined with rockroses; it seems like every other day, we’re picking beer cans out of those bushes (among other unpleasant trash, and I would really love to know who blows their nose in a kleenex _every single morning_ and then stuffs it into one of the bushes for us to clean up… but that’s not the issue here).

    Thinking about it, we’re the closest route #60 stop to the Valero mini-mart, so I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised about the beer cans. It would be nice to see less of them, though.

  2. It’s not just “high octane” beer. Businesses who sign up agree not to sell ANY single beers between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. If I go grocery shopping at 11:00 and Red Apple is a participating business (or run to Valero before the Packers game and they’ve signed on) they won’t sell me a single 22oz microbrew or break a six pack.

  3. Ohhhhhhh yes. Gloves me likey. :) We’ve asked Metro several times to please put a trash can at our bus stop, since it’s obviously needed, but honestly I wonder whether it would do any good if they ever did install one. Drunks aren’t noted for their aim, heh, and the Snot Ninja seems to take artistic pleasure out of finding new and pricklier niches in our shrubbery to stash the contents of their nose. Still, it might cut down on all the microwave burrito wrappers and empty chip bags, and that would be a welcome change. It’s been a few months; I guess I’ll send in another request.

    Interesting note there about the AIA, though. Sounds like they’re adopting a “one size fits all” solution, and that’s rarely a good idea. Hubby and I were thrilled when Red Apple finally put in an end-cap cooler for microbrews and large import bottles, and I’m sure I’ve bought a Chimay or Irish Death or one of those nice French lambics while doing the morning’s shopping… not exactly the binge-drunk’s beverages of choice.

    The trouble is, I can’t think of a good alternate suggestion. If you restrict sales of all singles, you inconvenience even the casual microbrew buyer. Restrict just large bottles, that leaves out import drinkers; restrict for higher alcohol content and you deny connoisseurs of several local and seasonal brews. Restricting just the cheapest stuff might work, but I wouldn’t want to be the politician who told my father he couldn’t buy a couple cans of Bud Light before mowing the lawn. 😉

    No easy answers on this one.

  4. Personally, I like the AIA method, prohibiting particular products based on their popularity with chronic drunks, and keeping them completely off the shelves. The problem with this proposal is that retailers like Red Apple will not only lose the cheap alcohol-only sales that they would have lost with the AIA, but they (Red Apple in particular) will also lose sales of higher cost, higher margin(?) quality beers that they just started stocking as well as other purchases made with the higher cost beers. If a person like me is at Red Apple looking for a nice Stone IPA or similar, it is quite often going to go with something to eat or some snacks to watch a game, etc. If I’m preparing for an afternoon bbq or a 1pm Seahawks game, etc. I’m not going to wait until they let me buy a couple big bottles of beer right at kickoff; I’m just going to go somewhere else like QFC. That means Red Apple loses out on not only my beer purchase but also my food purchase. Red Apple is the real loser with this proposal. Also, while not in Beacon Hill, how bad would this be for a place like Full Throttle Bottles that couldn’t sell its bottles during the Georgetown lunch rush. I wonder if their many single bottles are a frequent target of the chronic drunks that the proposal is trying to keep sober. My guess is no, but I expect that the question was asked by those who drafted this proposal. I assume FTB is well outside the proposed SODO and BH zones, but it is very accessible from mid-BH.

    The other thing I don’t like about this is that since specific products are not completely prohibited, as with the AIA, the products being restricted during the morning hours will always be on the shelves and the burden will come down to the individual checkout clerk to know, understand, and consistently implement the restrictions. Are we really wanting a checker at the front of an empty Red Apple at 7am on a Saturday morning to be the one person standing between a sobered up drunk and his/her first drink of the day?

  5. As an avid walker, I’m constantly stepping over cans of Steel Reserve and Joose – both heavily advertised for about $1.59 a can at several of our local mini-marts. In my letter to the LB in support of the Oak, I pointed out the real problem with alcohol in our area was the blatant sale of single can fortified beers/wines to folks who were obviously half-in-the-bag at 1 p.m. Have any of you ridden the bus with some of these daytime drinkers? They can be intimidating.

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