WOODSTOCK – Businesses that allow customers to bring alcoholic beverages to accompany dinner now will have to apply for a permit.
City Council members Tuesday approved an amendment that adds a BYOB permit requirement to the city’s liquor code. The city previously made individual agreements with businesses interested in BYOB.
“In reality, the interpretation was that we couldn’t legally restrict restaurants,” Mayor Brian Sager said of the city’s previous BYOB regulations. “That they could [allow BYOB] if they wanted to, even without an agreement.”
The previous agreements sought to regulate things such as underage drinking, the hours that patrons could drink and who handled the alcohol, Sager said.
Those issues also are addressed in the new ordinance. Businesses that derive at least 40 percent of their gross revenue from food sales are eligible to apply for either of the two permits offered through the new ordinance.
The “BYOB-Corkage Permit,” at a yearly cost of $400, will allow restaurant employees to cork, pour and store alcohol brought in from customers, as well as charge customers a storage and handling fee.
“This also gives them one additional level because before they never had the ability to actually handle it,” Sager said. “And charge a corkage fee ... if they so choose.”
Under the “BYOB Permit,” restaurant employees only can provide glasses, ice and other amenities for consumption on the premises at a yearly cost of $200.
Sager said Woodstock currently has two BYOB establishments: Two Tails Market and Eatery and Golden Rolls Sushi Bar and Grill.
Sager said the city started receiving inquiries from businesses about BYOB about five years ago.
He said allowing customers to consume alcohol without having to pay liquor licensing fees is an attractive option for some business owners. But, he said, the city has a responsibility to control the consumption of alcohol within the community.
“It’s not that we want to discourage it, and in fact we want to promote this opportunity,” Sager said. “But we want to make sure that everyone follows the same standards and the same set of guidelines.”