Single beer sales under scrutiny - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Single beer sales under scrutiny

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A clerk at Jack's Food on Main Street says he rarely sells a single can or bottle of beer.  But Tuesday night, Action News 5 was there to watch as virtually every customer within a 20-minute time frame bought single cans.

"You don't have permission to show my face," one customer said.

No one wanted our cameras to show them buying a bottle of Busch or a can of Coors Light.  They're the types of beverages Center City Commission Public Safety Coordinator Larry Bloom is researching.

"Open container or alcohol is definitely a factor with some of the disorder downtown," Bloom said Tuesday.

The commission could one day pitch a proposal that would ban the sale of single beer in the downtown area.  It's where Bloom says problems associated with alcohol are second only to panhandling.  Both make up 60% of what security officers encounter.    

"Fights, disturbances, and they're all intertwined," he said.

"They're already laws on the books addressing the problems these particular bills want to address -- which are loitering, public intoxication, panhandling," said Jarron Springer of the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Stores Association.  The group is currently working to defeat a proposed ban on single beer sales Nashville.

"And our position is we need to enforce the laws already on the books," Springer said.

Bloom said public safety concerns are his only concern.  He says it's too soon to close the door on any potential solution.

Right now, there is nothing on the table in Memphis.  It's simply a concept being studied.


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