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Oxford Aldermen to Consider Allowing Craft Beer Stores to Serve Beer to Shoppers

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

The Oxford Board of Aldermen is considering a change to the city’s laws that would allow craft beer stores to serve 12-ounce glasses of beer to customers. File photo.

In two weeks, a public hearing will be held in front of the Oxford Board of Aldermen in regards to an ordinance change that would allow craft beer stores to serve a limited amount of draft beer inside the store.

The Aldermen heard the first reading of the proposed ordinance amendment on Tuesday during their regular meeting.

In January, the Board was approached by craft beer store owner Allen Jackson who asked the Aldermen to consider changing the city’s law that prevented businesses that sold beer for off-premise consumption from offering their customers a glass of beer while shopping in the store.

Jackson sells bottled craft beer and growlers (large cups that are sealed closed) at his Jackson Beer Store on West Jackson Avenue. He currently offers samples of craft beers but said he wants to be able to serve a full glass of beer to his customers while they shop and talk “beer.”

The Aldermen instructed staff during a work session meeting on Jan. 31 to come up with a proposed amendment to see what that proposal would like on paper.

In the proposed ordinance change, craft beer stores would have to meet the following requirements before being allowed to serve cold beer to their customers: They would have to follow the city’s safety ordinance for all businesses that serve alcohol; they must specialize in the sale of draft beer; the establishment must maintain a minimum of eight functional draft beer taps on location; they could not sell other types of alcoholic beverage and not have an on-premises retailer’s permit from the Alcohol Beverage Control Division.

If the business meets the requirements, the store could only provide beer for on-premise consumption, for tasting or sampling, between the hours of 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. No one under 21 could partake of any beer sampling. All beer served will be drawn from a tap or opened by a licensed employee and any individual tasting or sampling will be restricted to three, 12-ounce servings within a 24-hour period.

“So we’re going to try to enforce the amount of beer people drink?” asked Aldermen Ulysses “Coach” Howell, who has traditionally voted against extended alcohol hours and sales. “I don’t know. I just have a problem with allowing this.”

The craft beer stores must also meet all state and federal health and safety regulations for an establishment allowing on-premise consumption.

The Aldermen will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. March 19 at City Hall, and a possible vote will be held during the April 2 meeting.

Read the entire proposed ordinance amendment here.

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