In Defense of Public Drinking

Discussion in 'Article Comments' started by BeerAdvocate, May 18, 2019.

  1. BeerAdvocate

    BeerAdvocate Founders (17,679) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Moderator

    Instead of embracing the beauty of public and outdoor drinking, Americans have largely relegated alcohol consumption to bars, implicitly marking them as dark dens of adult iniquity. Fortunately, small breweries are pushing for change.

    Read the full article: In Defense of Public Drinking
     
  2. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,872) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    This article surprises me a bit. It's almost as if Crouch has been asleep for the last few years. (Or maybe Philly is just ahead of most of the rest of the country. :wink:)

    Dozens of Philly Beer Gardens.

    I also think it would be nice if @herrburgess were to chime in with some comments about the Beergarden Experience he's been creating for his fellow South Carolinians.
     
  3. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,401) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Americans also haven’t embraced outdoor/ public nudity.....maybe there’s a correlation with the lack of alcohol!
     
  4. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,092) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry

    Thanks, @drtth, for bringing this to my attention.

    I sometimes joke that the greatest German contribution to history and society is the beer garden. And really I'm only half-joking when I say it. The community that is created when people get together publicly to have some beers outdoors truly is something special. A lot goes into this in Germany: the community is usually enjoying their (hyper)local beer at (hyper)communal tables -- ours are only 2 ft wide, so you truly sit close to your neighbors -- with many (dare I say) drinking (hyper)similar beers. All of these things as they blend and meld with the local landscape make for a really cool time. And I've gone to great lengths and expense to emulate this as closely and authentically as I can.

    And the results, I think, speak for themselves. Even here in the heart of the Bible Belt, I really think people have begun to realize the special nature of a true beer garden. We regularly get mentioned as having best captured the spirit of our city of any brewery in town...as well as garnering a lot of local pride in our product. And I don't think it's necessarily because our German-style beers fit the culture best (although drinkabilty in a hot place like here goes a long way). Rather I think a big part of it is we let the city and the place and its people do part of the talking.

    Our Tuesday beer garden series at the historic pump house complex on the river here, which we've been doing since last spring, has continued to grow like crazy. So far this year we have averaged 1000+ people and have gone through more than 11 half barrels of beer during the short 3.5 hrs per day we are open.

    If done right -- and I think we do -- I see no reason why this won't grow in popularity here and elsewhere. If done wrong...as many so-called beer gardens are (notice how no one has a deck or a patio or a yard anymore...they are all "beer gardens" now?) then the "trend" might fade. But by all indications here -- despite the rare complaint about our general sinfulness -- we are seeing nothing but positives.

    hope this helps spread the word about -- and my love of -- beer gardens and outdoor, communal drinking. Prost!

    pics and other info here if you are interested:

    https://www.facebook.com/bierkellercolumbia/

    IG: @bierkellercolumbia
     
    #4 herrburgess, May 19, 2019
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  5. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,628) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Would outdoor beer festivals be considered as beer gardens?

    If not, the only one that I've been at was in Vienna Austria, sipping on a liter of Budvar, within walking distance of the high school that I graduated from.
     
  6. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,092) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry

    all of the above said, there is still -- especially in the surrounding suburbs of our city -- very much a taboo around public drinking. Most bars in those areas are still largely populated by "bar fly" types. I have seen this first-hand as I scouted locations for us to distribute to. My plan is now to try and introduce the model we are using in town to public places there. And the hope is that they, too, will see this is mainly about community -- people, families, kids, dogs -- and not about easy or public intoxication
     
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  7. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Initiate (163) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I literally just got home from Wachusett Brewery brew yard. My Mother in-law asked me if this is what beer gardens are like in Germany (I have been, and she hasn't) . Looking around at the many picnic benches scattered under a canopy trees and old fashioned lights that were occupied by families and folks of all ages enjoying beer and snacks I could only say Prost! It is! Isn't it wonderful!
     
  8. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,578) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Trader

    Outdoor drinking is certainly how I got interested in craft beer. Good times kicking back before shows all across the country drinking great beer with great friends before Dead shows many years ago. Sad to say I won't ever make it to the originals in Germany (have taken a vow to stop all travel more than 200 miles from home and to do motorized travel less than 5K a year total), but recently some nice beer gardens have opened in this area.
     
  9. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,837) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Trader

    If it’s on private property it’s part of the establishment, Old Mecklenburg Brewery sits on over 4 acres in Charlotte. Nothing I hate more than the dark, brooding, smoky bars I grew up in back in Pa. They weren’t kid friendly, dog friendly, sometimes not people friendly if you weren’t known. I don’t see Beer Gardens as an outside drinking place, it’s privately owned and controlled by ownership, there’s an entrance and and exits, you can’t just stumble in from the street. Tailgating is cool, the cops obviously allow it as long as your not an ass.
     
  10. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (662) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    Public drinking is the best and the fact that it's not allowed in most of the US is the biggest proof that so much of our 'freedom' talk is just bluster and baloney. Parks are made for drinking, waterfronts are great places to have a beer, heck sitting on a bus station bench sipping a beer while watching the world move by is a deeply pleasant experience.
    For all our talk we are still a country deeply connected to our puritanical past. The ban on adults drinking in public spaces is a sure sign of this. Puritans are just immoral monsters who need legal restrictions to keep them from expressing their monstrosity in the world. Keep it in your churches and let the rest of us enjoy a beer with our trees
     
  11. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,401) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    An interesting vow, but you owe yourself a trip to Munich. From what I know about you on these forums, it’s right in your sweet spot.
     
  12. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,489) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Though the drinking age was 18 in Wisconsin when I grew up, the open-container laws were strictly enforced in most places. I was amazed how openly they drink in Vegas, New Orleans, and Europe.
     
  13. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,872) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    AIS in Dobling?
     
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  14. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,837) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Trader

    I was in a bar in Phoenix City Al in 1977, State Trooper came in to close the bar, hollered at us to get the hell out and take your drinks with you. A military kinda bar outside of Ft Benning Ga, but I could never understand his pissy attitude.
     
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  15. readyski

    readyski Aspirant (245) Jun 4, 2005 California
    Trader

    Had to chime in
    My absolute favorite place to drink is at the top of a hike (outside) in the company of friends
    Usually spend 30 - 60 minutes there enjoying my "pint" and philosophizing
    Any longer or more beer may be counter productive on the way down :grimacing:
     
  16. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,628) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Ya. AIS but not in Dobling, wherever that is. In Wein.
     
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  17. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (939) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    We had a three year run of The National Folk Festival here in Greensboro, and last year the initial North Carolina Folk Festival. This is a wide open event in downtown with beer tents everywhere. It all works well and with the fantastic music people just really seem to behave and pay attention. Downtown Greensboro becomes a beautifully perfect gala, full of beer and wine, just out there on the street. It is a marvel and makes me proud.
     
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  18. mambossa

    mambossa Disciple (376) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio
    Society

    In Japan, drinking in public areas is not only legal, but is done quite often. It seems to be a thing in more developed cultures. Maybe in a few (or more) decades, the States can follow suit. Cause y’know...people find a way to do it anyway.
     
  19. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,872) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    IIRC Dobling is the District in Wien where the school is located. Out near lower Austria and the Vienna Woods.
     
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  20. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,489) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    When I lived in Phoenix, AZ in 1977, I mounted Bar-buoys (gimbaled drink holders for a boat) to my dashboard. We'd drive from party to party with our beers clearly visible and at least once lucked out when a cop next to us at a light managed to overlook the obvious violation. Still not sure how I survived some of my young stupidity.
     
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  21. Milktoast75

    Milktoast75 Devotee (451) Oct 27, 2012 Wisconsin
    Society

    Beer gardens in Milwaukee are part of the city parks system. Plans already in place to meet my sister and other family members at a local park. My first time. Can’t wait. Beautiful parks, families, friends, oompa band and beer. Not real surprising considering Milwaukee’s strong German heritage.
    They even have a traveling beer garden!
    List of parks, musicians, maps and pictures.
    https://county.milwaukee.gov/EN/Parks/Explore/Beer-Gardens
     
  22. johnInLA

    johnInLA Champion (839) Jun 12, 2005 California
    Society

    Generally, I'm not a fan of all out bans on something in an attempt to try to curb its extremist elements. I would much rather just ban the extremist behavior. I find public alcohol consumption bans fall into this category.

    Case in point I would love to do a share in a park or beach in LA. But its virtually impossible due to public alcohol consumption ordinances.
     
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  23. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,785) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

    So, wait.
    A true "man bites dog" story in this thread - A cop ordered everybody outside to drink?

    "It's a beautiful day out there, you cretins - why are you all in here in the gloom and the smoke, listening to Charlie Rich's "The Most Beautiful Girl" on that juke box over and over. (And why don't they have any of Charlie's classic 50's and early 60's stuff on that machine instead of that Nashville Sound shit?) Take your !@#$ beers outside, get some fresh air and live a little!"
     
  24. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,837) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Trader

    And to drive home, I still don’t get it. But Phoenix City is a shithole, and the bars filled with drinking military guys , so I suppose he used his big boy voice to get his message across. Get the F... out now, get in your car and get the hell out of here. I’ve been in worse dive bars, some truly dangerous now that I look back on it, but that was different.
     
  25. surfcaster

    surfcaster Champion (803) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    The US Whitewater center nearby has done a wonderful job of creating and blending an outdoor family forward venue with beer--a beautiful deck overlooking the water course and vista of the Piedmont. Amazing how many people come out to just enjoy a pint in the outdoors and rarely do we see folks "overdoing" it.

    Locally a craft beer shop turned tap room (an old gas station from 50+ yrs ago) put in about 6 long picnic tables and is the afternoon congregating spot for the neighbor surrounding it with strollers everywhere--most everyone sits outside and no one is shy about it--right next to a busy thoroughfare.
     
  26. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (1,695) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    I'm all for public drinking. Public intoxication only becomes a problem when an overly intoxicated person becomes a nuisance and dangerous to him/herself and others. Aside from that, I have no problem with drinking in public. I love how in parts of Europe--Denmark, for example--you can buy beer from a vending machine and drink it while you walk down the street. I wish American was on par!
     
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  27. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Poo-Bah (2,008) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Society Trader

    x2
     
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  28. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (194) Aug 2, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    A Beer Garden just opened up a stone's throw away from my apartment building outside philly, and not gonna lie I'm pretty hype
     
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  29. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (194) Aug 2, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    If public intoxication was actually enforced, we all would have been arrested quite a few times! I think we will sadly never reach the acceptance towards drinking publicly that our European friends enjoy, solely because religion dominates local politics throughout our country.
     
  30. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (662) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    most public intoxication laws deem you to have crossed the line only once your drunken behavior becomes a threat to public safety
     
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,046) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Tom, my wife and I were at the Independence Beer Garden yesterday (we each had two pints of Troegs Sunshine Pils) - our first Philly Beer Garden visit of 2019. Next on our list will be another visit to Frankford Hall (maybe next weekend?). I doubt that we will visit all of the other 46 Beer Gardens but we will visit many of them.

    Cheers to Philly (and surrounding 'burbs) Beer Gardens!!
     
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  32. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,003) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    In Boston there's a couple that are set up just like this...you can actually just stumble in off the street (after they check your ID of course) and grab a beer outside.

    Trillium was one of the first, if not THE first daily beer garden in the Boston area and it's literally right in the middle of the city. Nothing but a rope separating you and people walking by.

    I wouldn't say that. Multiple states have legalized marijuana, with more to come. I see that as far more taboo than drinking outside.
     
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  33. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (268) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    There seem to be two different topics under discussion here and in the article.
    1. Outdoor drinking in a beer garden, bar patio, or other commercial location
    2. Public drinking on a street corner, in a park, or other public location
    My area has embraced the first (for the maybe 6 viable months) and has rebelled against the second.

    A few years back the city decided to experiment and wave the public consumption law (except for parks) for the day of the St. Patrick's Day parade and Memorial Day-Labor Day.

    The idea was to lure people to downtown and the riverfront during the summer. What they got instead was empty plastic cups and crushed beer cans in the rivers and the curbs. Weekend nights of 20 something's spilling out into the streets and urinating on buildings and all of those drunks who usually spent the day getting drunk at home or in bars now did so on the sidewalks (NYS courts struck down public drunkenness laws decades ago). Downtown became the place to kill off 40's during the day and to party at night, driving away the very people they were hoping to attract.
    Dinking outdoors in a privately owned location is encouraged here, drinking outdoors in publicly owned location will never be allowed again.
     
  34. mattfitz

    mattfitz Initiate (107) Jan 26, 2009 Connecticut

    I think you nailed it. It isn't (at least anymore) some Puritanical stance on alcohol consumption, at least not everywhere (and I'd argue, in most places, but that may be by population not by land area). And it isn't about "freedom" ("free" as in beer" is not the same as "free" as in speech).

    In my town there was a long-time tolerance for public drinking during the St. Patrick's Day parade until business owners got tired of drunks and the town was tired of being trashed.

    Perhaps the core issue is that we have a history of not handling our alcohol well?
     
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  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,046) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I agree with you these are two related but separate issues. I personally support Beer Gardens. I personally do not support public drinking for the aspects that you detailed in your post.

    Cheers!
     
  36. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (662) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    that is a pretty terrible result. How large is the town/city you live in?
     
  37. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (268) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    Urban area (city & adjacent communities) is about 125,000, suburbs add about another 100,000. Avg metro income is about $27,000, right at 1/3 of population below the poverty level, 12% (official) unemployment rate, 15% without high school diploma.

    The two biggest employers in the area are the University and the hospital system, those are the people the city was trying to bring in from the suburbs.
     
  38. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,214) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

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  39. Buckeye55

    Buckeye55 Poo-Bah (3,532) Jan 11, 2019 North Carolina
    Society

    In defense of the bar type you mentioned, sometimes you want a bar where there are no kids, no dogs, etc. Not all bars/breweries need to be family friendly. I like the increase in outdoor areas that are welcoming to all. But I also like having the old time, if you will, bars that are there solely for drinking. I would prefer that to folks hanging around outside on the corner getting trashed and rowdy. Although I have been guilty of this infraction myself
     
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  40. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (194) Aug 2, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    again most of us have crossed that line a few times after a tough day of drinking
     
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