The Knoxville Beer Board has opened the door for beer sales at UT sporting and non-sporting events, granting Aramark Sports and Entertainment Services, LLC a beer permit Tuesday.
"UT is moving forward to develop the policy and infrastructure to responsibly sell alcohol in accordance with all applicable laws. The chancellor has appointed a working group to review what it would take to responsibly move forward with the sale of alcohol prioritizing student and participant well-being, safety, and security," UT said in a statement. "The pending beer board license is a step further in that process, but as of now no timelines for implementation have been determined."
Aramark’s plan includes serving alcohol at Neyland Stadium, Thompson-Boling Arena and Regal Stadium, and the board said Aramark must fulfill other requirements such as signage needed for penalties for underaged drinking; a plan for staffing exits so that alcohol is not taken out of games; and training for identifying intoxicated persons.
Originally scheduled to vote on the proposal in June, Aramark was asked for more information about alcohol distribution.
Beer would be sold in cups significantly different to sodas, with alcohol sold in clear, plastic cups and soda in cups with designs on the side.
Aramark’s cut-off times, based on their policies at other venues, would be the end of the 3rd quarter for football, the 12-minute mark of the second half for men’s basketball, the end of the 3rd quarter for women’s basketball, and no later than when 75 percent of the event’s regulation length is supposed to be complete for other sports.
Concerts would also reap the benefits of alcohol sales, and Aramark holds at other venues that sales end at a time that is agreed upon with the act and venue management.
Along with serving alcohol in different style cups and stopping at reasonable times, other safety measures proposed included ride share services, text message systems for issues and a designated driver program.
The Beer Board’s decision comes after Governor Bill Lee’s bill allowing alcohol sales in public Tennessee universities in April. The SEC lifted its alcohol sales ban in May, allowing each of the 14 SEC schools to decide whether to sell alcohol at sporting events or not. Several schools confirmed or denied their interest in selling alcohol at sporting events, and UT said it supported the vote, but needed to decide if it would happen.
In an interview with the ‘Daily Beacon’ on July 11, Chancellor Donde Plowman said she had created a task force to look at the possibility and decide what was best for the UT community after answering key questions.
“How would that look? How would we, how would it be distributed? How will we make sure that people are safe? How would we communicate what it's about? Looking at best practices,” Plowman said. “I'm eager to see a plan and then we'll go from there.”