Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beer in the (Madison) News

Sorry to be so specifically "Madison" today. I recognize (unlike most of Madison) that a universe exists outside of this fine city. Despite being named "Madison" Beer Review, I try not to focus too much attention here (much like "Harvard" Business Review does not only report on Businesses that come from Harvard). But there were two bits in today's State Journal that I thought were interesting.

The Madison City Council has extended the Alcohol Density Plan for the time being. Basically, this plan acts to put limits on things like:

- How many liquor/beer licenses can be issued
- What kinds of establishments can be issued liquor licenses
- How long the city has to fill "expired" or "returned" licenses

The plan puts a cap on new alcohol licenses unless the establishment falls within a "protected class" such as a "movie theater" or "concert hall" or basically anything that isn't a "bar." The plan allows for up to seven new licenses in the Density Area (basically the Isthmus area including all of State Street) for such "protected" venues.

If this sounds like the city of Madison hates bars it's because ... well ... the City of Madison hates bars. They attract all the wrong sorts of people - habitual drunks, child molesters, and muggers. Thankfully habitual drunks, child molesters, and muggers never go to concerts, movies, or restaurants; we can safely allow alcohol there.

"We don't see any data that connects (the density plan) to reduced crime," said Mary Carbine, executive director of the city's Central Business Improvement District, at Tuesday's meeting. "We do see data that shows a tangible link between problem establishments and crime."

Read more:

That's right. Beer doesn't molest children, people molest children. It is possible to serve alcohol in a responsible manner; it is possible to consume alcohol in a responsible manner. Rather than focusing on the "type" of venue that can serve alcohol, it makes more sense to ensure that alcohol is being served in a responsible manner. I recognize that it is far easier to just regulate the "thing" (alcohol) than the actual problem, but, hey, like my mother once told me, nobody said life is easy.

Speaking of the Nanny-State. Turns out we have a Mayor with a brain. Mayor Paul Soglin wants to repeal a law passed last year that would require the police to keep and distribute (with photos!) a "no serve" list. An establishment would be fined if it served someone on the "no serve" list. We talked about this law last year when it was passed and I noted that: "The only 'crime' is being drunk too often - and for that we, as society, are going to pre-emptively, maybe, possibly, prevent someone from, maybe, committing the 'crime' of panhandling while intoxicated for the seventh time."

Mayor Soglin's far more reasoned take is that we should actually look at the root of the problem. What?! I know. Crazy talk.
Soglin said he first wants to explore all options to help a small group of habitually intoxicated people get access to treatment.

Read more:"
Of course, this is, also, not without controversy. It is far easier to just say "No, Jimmy. You can't have beer today. You've already beaten up 6 people." Than to say, "Hey, dipshit, stop beating people up and get some help."

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