The University of Minnesota will sell beer and wine — but no hard liquor — to football fans at Gopher home games.
The U’s Board of Regents voted 11-1 Wednesday to approve a resolution to allow “beer or beer and wine sales” in the premium-seating section of TCF Bank Stadium and in a single “beer garden” during Gopher games. Fans will be able to bring beer to their seats.
“It will be a restricted and controlled environment where they will be very careful about requiring identification, so students will not have access,” said regents Chairwoman Linda Cohen in advance of the vote.
Under a compromise approved this spring, the Legislature legalized alcohol sales at TCF Stadium during college athletic events, requiring beer to be offered to fans in general seating but allowing for sales to be restricted to a confined area. Earlier plans to sell alcohol only in suites ran into opposition, at the Legislature and elsewhere.
“There’s something sort of inequitable about serving alcohol to one type of fan” who is paying for an expensive suite and not another fan with a general ticket, said Regent Richard Beeson. “I think this is more equitable.”
“Enforcement is going to be key,” said Regent Dean Johnson. He said he worries that with a single point of sale, “we’re going to be confronted with some long lines.” He predicted that over time, the university might need to open up beer sales to all concessions.
Several regents, including Regent Venora Hung, who voted against the resolution, spoke out against the Legislature’s action on this issue. Regent David Larson called that legislation “inappropriate.”
“A number of our peer… institutions have regularly sold beverages in their suites, but not to the general public,” he said. “We are now being forced to make a compromise.”