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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A new bill could mean liquor drinks at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park

Boozy Baseball

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Wed, May 3, 2017 at 8:42 AM

click to enlarge SAM SPENCE
  • Sam Spence

You know what they say, a baseball game just isn't a baseball game without a gin and tonic. What? No one says that? Well, they might soon. Last week the South Carolina House committee passed S.334, a bill that would allow liquor to be sold in minor league baseball parks across the state.

Prior to the bill, liquor could only be sold at tennis events — namely Volvo Car Open — but S.334 would expand that to allow liquor to be sold at all four minor league fields in the state which Dave Echols, President of the RiverDogs, says only makes sense.

"Why you can do it at Family Circle Cup [now called Volvo Car Open] and not here seems out of consistency," Echols says. Should the bill become law, Echols said that the RiverDogs would look to take advantage of serving liquor at Joe Riley Jr. Park.

Currently the ballpark serves liquor within designated areas, including the new Riley Park Club. "If you have a functioning kitchen and seating for x amount, that's enclosed, you can get your liquor license," he says. "We met that criteria for the Club." Inside the luxe space, the all-inclusive ticket provides for some complimentary beer and wine, with cocktails for an additional fee.

In the general seating area, however, it's beers or beer milkshakes for RiverDogs fans. But Echols doesn't see why watching a game while enjoying, say, an Old Fashioned would be any less appealing to Charleston fans.

"I think it's something we'd take a real strong look at," he says. "To be able to serve a Firefly drink that's homegrown that has appeal to everybody. It wouldn't be a situation where you'd go to every concession stand and get a liquor drink. We'd do a strategic point of sale placement."

In addition to allowing for liquor at baseball complexes, S.334 also has an amendment to change the way South Carolina issues liquor licenses. Current regulations only allow a liquor store three liquor licenses, but the bill has changed that to nine following the South Carolina Supreme Court ruling that last month deemed the law unconstitutional.

The bill will move to the House floor this week.


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