January 07, 2008
Six beers over Texas

I'm not sure why this story amuses me as much as it does, but it does.

Citing public safety and concerns about underage drinking, more than 60 people showed up at a town-hall meeting Thursday night to learn how to protest Six Flags' application to sell alcohol at its parks in Arlington.

"I don't know how alcohol sales can be controlled with that many people at Six Flags," Linda Jaquess of Arlington said during the meeting.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission decided to hold the informational meeting after receiving more than 600 phone calls since Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor posted signs Dec. 17 saying the parks were applying for liquor licenses.

While the meeting's intent was to educate the public on how to formally protest Six Flags' application, residents spent most of the time voicing their dismay that a mixed-beverage permit could be issued to parks and questioning the New York-based company's reasons for wanting to sell beer at the family-friendly venues.

I don't think the reasons - $$$ - are much of a mystery, do you?

Although the panel of TABC officials asked that comments and questions be related to the protest process, many attendees voiced their concerns and opinions about Six Flags' decision to apply for the license.

"I feel this is totally unfair to families and children," said Arlington resident Linda Rosenberry. "It's just putting your own customers at risk."

As a season-pass holder and father of two young girls, Bart McDonald said he plans to file a protest because he is concerned for the safety of his kids and others if alcohol is sold at Six Flags.

"To me, it's a safety issue and a health issue," said McDonald, pastor of Tate Springs Baptist Church in Arlington. "If someone gets drunk, it will affect the peace of the park."

The theme park company maintained that "moms and dads" are the ones who have asked Six Flags to offer beer and that it will have strict controls in place to sell beer responsibly.

John Bement, senior vice president of in-park services, said Six Flags' policy is to sell one beer at a time to one person with a valid ID.

For example, a man cannot buy two beers, one for himself and one for his wife. Instead, the woman must buy her own beer with an ID, Bement said.

I'm pretty sure that Six Flags is aware of how much of its business comes from families, and I'm also pretty sure that they're aware that the presence of drunks at their parks would be a huge disincentive for those families to attend. This is not to say that they'll do a sufficient job policing their customers, but they likely know what the stakes are. For what it's worth, the Schlitterbahn sells beer, and I can't say I've ever seen a problem as the result of that, in all my years of going. If the Schlitterbahn can police its alcohol sales, I'd bet Six Flags can as well.

I should note here that I hadn't realized they didn't sell beer at Six Flags parks. I think that's probably because I assumed that if they did, it would be crappy (Bud/Bud Lite/Miller Lite) and overpriced, so I never bothered to inquire. So much for that.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 07, 2008 to The great state of Texas

I am reminded of the definition of a religious conservative: someone who has never had any fun and who is determined to make damned sure that no one else does either.

Give them the license, for heaven's sakes.

Posted by: Dennis on January 7, 2008 2:16 PM