DENVER (CBS4)– It’s a reconsideration in open container laws in Denver. That means you may be able to take your alcoholic beverage with you when you leave, depending on the event and neighborhood.
“The permit will allow for drinking of alcoholic beverages from different establishments in a designated common area,” explained Ashley Kilroy, Executive Director of Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses.
Kilroy stresses that this permit would not turn Denver into New Orleans or Las Vegas. Over the last year, Kilroy says there has been an ample amount of community outreach regarding the proposal. While there are some concerns over noise and sanitation, she says the majority are in support.
“This will not provide a model for drinking in the streets at all hours. We want this model to be about place-making and community building and opportunities for our small businesses,” said Kilroy.
Many businesses lose customers during special events like Oktoberfest, where outdoor consumption is allowed.
“People can’t take their drink from a restaurant that borders a special event out to the streets. A lot of times, those beer trucks or wine stands are blocking small businesses that would like to sell their liquor and alcohol at events,” she explained.
If the City Council approves the proposal, obtaining a permit won’t be easy. In addition to a public hearing, the business would have to provide evidence of community support, along with security and sanitation plans.
The permit also requires the area of common consumption outside be closed to all motor vehicle traffic. It’s unlikely that a strip of restaurants along the 16th Street Mall would obtain a permanent common consumption permit, unless they have an alley in the back similar to Dairy Block.
“Currently you’re confined to the premises where you bought the beverage,” explained Don Cloutier, General Manager of Dairy Block.
Drinks purchased inside Dairy Block’s Milk Market cannot be taken into the lobby of the neighboring Maven Hotel, or the Dairy Block alley. The proposed permit would change that.
“The retailers that are along the alley can opt in or opt out. You could take a drink into the store. If the opt out, they will have to sign that says you can’t shop with it,” explained
Cloutier says the common consumption permit would allow people to maximize their time in mixed use developments, without their drink deciding where they can go.
“If you want a cocktail from one place and I want a cocktail from somewhere else, we could get our own and meet in the middle,” said Cloutier.
The Department of Excise and Licenses is still developing the proposal for what would be a five-year pilot program for liquor common consumption in Denver. It would join other Colorado cities such as Fort Collins and Greeley who already offer this option.
With strong protections in place for neighborhoods, the department says this new license could be a positive amenity for communities who want it in Denver.
The Department of Excise and Licenses will bring their completed proposal to a committee in June. If approved, the implementation of the license would not be effective until at least the end of 2019 or early 2020.