District 19 Councilwoman Erica Gilmore has followed through on her promise to bring forward a bill that would ban single beer sales in Nashville’s downtown area.
The bill, which will be on first reading at next Tuesday’s Metro Council meeting, would prohibit single-item beer sales, like 40-ounce malt beverages, inside the downtown interstate loop.
Gilmore promised to reintroduce a single-item beer sales in September and has been working on the writing the legislation since then.
Council considered a single beer sales ban in 2002, but those attempts failed after a divisive battle. The ban has the support of other Council members, including District 6 Councilman Mike Jameson, whose district includes downtown.
Gilmore’s new bill makes exceptions for “holders of on-sale permits, caterer’s permits, or special event permits.” It also excludes “the sale of single-item craft or specialty beers produced by microbreweries.” Local brewery Yazoo is in Gilmore’s district.
Gilmore said single-item beer sales lead to loitering, criminal activity and littering.
“You have people loitering around, hanging around with bottles. It does not look attractive,” Gilmore told The City Paper in September.
Joe Hall, lobbyist for Anheuser-Busch Co. and representative for a coalition of organizations that opposes the ban, gave NashvillePost.com the following statement regarding Gilmore’s bill.
“There are already laws on the book that address littering, public intoxication and handhandling,” Hall said. “Banning the sale of single beer containers isn’t going to solve those problems if those laws aren’t enforced. There are a few individuals behaving badly and they’re going to continue to do so by simply buying a six-pack instead of a single container, or buying wine or liquor.
“Because a few people are behaving badly, this policy proposes to take away the legal, lawful rights of all consumers. We think that is not the right approach.”
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