Friday, July 1, 2022

Retailer Asking City to Allow Cold Beer Sales

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Photograph By Mike Stanton

Perpetual local issue rises anew next week before Board of Aldermen.

In the weeks leading up to the recent city election, mayoral and board of aldermen candidates expressed views about the potential for changing Oxford law to allow the retail sale of refrigerated beer, as opposed to room temperature beer currently allowed. Incumbent Pat Patterson, in a mayoral debate, on his way to reelection, stood his ground regarding change of most alcohol-related ordinances but admitted he would be open to sales of cold beer.

Some of those statements will be put to the test next Tuesday when a retailer petitions the board of aldermen — some of whose members, ranging from new alderman Jay Hughes to veteran Ulysses “Coach” Howell — previously voiced support for the notion of cold beer sales.

The current ordinance, Sec. 14-44, states that any establishment with a privilege license to sell light beer or wine is prohibited against selling “refrigerated wine or beer.” The prohibition applies to retailers but not to on-premise establishments such as bars and restaurants.

“My client Craddock Oil Company, which operates the new Circle K on Highway 6, is petitioning the city to change the local ordinance so that convenience stores and grocery stores can sell cold beer,” Oxford lawyer Dee Hobbs told HottyToddy.com. “Craddock Oil has convenience stores all over Mississippi, and we’re the only town where they have to sell hot beer. Yes, [a change in law] will benefit my client and other convenience store owners, but most importantly, it will benefit the citizens of Oxford to be able to buy beer cold. On big event weekends such as football or Double Decker, it hurts the local convenience stores and the city of Oxford by not having cold beer. People on their way from Memphis or Jackson or the Delta often buy their beer in those respective places or along the way instead of in Oxford.”

Hobbs said he’s aware opposition exists.

“I’m hearing rumblings of some owners of older convenience stores that think they will have to spend more money on coolers and liquor store owners who are worried about losing sales,” he noted. “But beer and liquor is apples and oranges. If people want to buy beer, they’re going to buy beer, and if they’re going to buy liquor, they’ll buy liquor. And every store already has refrigerated space and could move some soft drinks or other drinks out of the way if they want to sell cold beer.”

The Mayor and Board of Aldermen hold regular business meetings on the first and third Tuesday of each month  in the Courtroom of City Hall at 6 p.m. The cold beer petition will be heard Tuesday, July 23.

If cold beer sales are legalized in Oxford, the community will gain convenience but also wave goodbye to some traditions, including driving to a neighboring county just to buy refrigerated brews or using creative tactics to get the beer cold. After arriving at home or at a social function with warm beer from a store in town, Oxonians currently must put it on ice or in a refrigerator and play the waiting game, but over the years many have found ways to hasten the process, such as spinning a can or bottle beer in ice for a few minutes. –– Tad Wilkes, Hottytoddy.com Entertainment and Lifestyles Editor

Email Tad Wilkes at tad.wilkes@hottytoddy.com

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