If you haven’t been following this story, links are provided below. In a nutshell, two bars that served underage drinkers back in January were fined last week, while a third requested and got its hearing rescheduled. Charges were dropped against two other bars whose licensee had been accused of advertising free beer as a St. Patrick’s Day promotion.
Advertising any sort of “happy hour”-type drink special in DeKalb constitutes a violation of the liquor code. Hosting an open bar for a private party does not.
Frankly, I don’t get it. The so-called “private” parties in question were organized by an agent of the licensee, which posted the event to its subscribers as it does other promos, and generally boasts afterward of participating businesses’ increased traffic and ROI. I’m pretty sure the restaurant that offers off-menu skillet specials and the store that uses the same marketing program for distribution of “mobile coupons” for groceries think of it as advertising.
DeKalb will have to revisit this issue sometime. Imagine when the bar owners’ mobile marketing agents have hundreds or thousands of subscribers instead of just 60. Imagine a maximized presence on social networking sites. You wanna put these “private” parties on the same footing as wedding receptions then?