Fenway Park seeks expanded liquor sales, beer bottles at park
Most of us have been there: waiting in a long line in the bowels of Fenway Park for an adult beverage when you hear the cheer of the crowd and know you missed something.
Well, Fenway Park officials have proposed a solution to that.
Citing long lines and a way to increase efficiency, officials from “American’s Most Beloved Ballpark” appeared before the city’s Licensing Board on Wednesday and requested multiple changes to its alcohol regulations.
Lawyer Dennis Quilty said the requests are about “creating a better flow within the park.”
Park officials want to be able to serve beer in lightweight aluminum and plastic bottles, in addition to increasing the number of concession stands where liquor is available and expanding all alcohol sales until the end of the seventh inning, rather than a set time limit.
Larry Cancro, senior vice president for Fenway affairs, told board members that serving bottles rather than being limited to plastic cups would increase efficiency at the concession stands. He also said servers would take and keep the caps from the widemouth bottles.
“The lines do get long at times and people want to return to their seats and see the game,” he said. “Furthermore, it’s an old ballpark. … The concourses get congested and there [can be] some fan safety issues. We always try to do things as efficiently as possible so the ballpark runs as efficiently as possible.”
Board Chair Nicole Murati Ferrer asked if a fan decided to throw the bottle, how much more dangerous it would be compared to the now used plastic cups.
Fenway officials said there haven’t been any incidents of cups being used as projectiles as far as they could remember. Cancro also said that servers could take the caps off the bottles to ensure they couldn’t be filled with something and thrown.
Additionally, Fenway requested to begin serving liquor at three additional concession stands, bringing the total to eight. The park would not be adding more concession stands, but would be swapping beer service already at the stand for liquor.
“What we’re finding is that as people’s taste change, they’d like a different beverage,” Cancro said.
Officials also requested a change to the regulation that halts alcohol service two hours or two-and-a-half hours after the start of the game or the end of the seventh inning, whichever comes first. The time restrictions would be removed under the Fenway request.
Also, with more non-baseball events taking place at Fenway, officials want to sell alcohol on Yawkey Way during all events, rather than just during Red Sox games.
While no one spoke in opposition to the changes, a representative from Mayor Thomas Menino’s Office of Neighborhood Services said the department has some concerns that it wanted Fenway Park to address and asked for a meeting.
The Licensing Board will decide on the request at a later meeting.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.