Mike McKibbin

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October 17, 2012
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Beer, wine at the movies a step closer

Limited beer and wine sales at Rifle's seven-plex movie theaters could be allowed, after the city's criminal code is updated.

Earlier this year, Brenden Theatres told Rifle City Council they would like to sell beer and wine to moviegoers. Those sales would be strictly monitored and limited to one beer or one glass of wine per customer.

City council unanimously approved the code changes at its Oct. 3 meeting. Final approval was expected on Oct. 17.

Brenden Theatres Vice-president of Operations Walter Eichinger told the council last month that only three email comments had been received about the sales of beer and alcohol, two of them opposed.

Eichinger said he expected many more comments, as the company placed newspaper ads and posters in the theater lobby, soliciting comments.

Councilwoman Jennifer Sanborn said last month that she thought the company's first request to sell wine and beer - before the theaters were built - was too early and led to more opposition.

"Now I think everyone's seen how well you operate, so they're open to taking this a step further," she said.

City Attorney Jim Neu said the city's criminal code bans any one under 21 from being present in a business that serves alcohol.

"[Former Police] Chief [Daryl] Meisner, on his way out the door, said that code was established in 1970s and it has become very difficult to enforce," Neu added. "Things have changed since the 1970s, and almost all the restaurants in town serve alcohol and there's children present."

Neu said Meisner's recommendation was to eliminate the code provision and write a new code that includes needed exceptions, but still bans minors in bars that do not serve food.

Current Police Chief John Dyer said he appreciated the effort to make the code simpler and easier for officers to enforce.

Eichinger said Brenden would agree to halt the sales of wine and beer after 10 p.m.

Neu said the city would also require Brenden to seek a liquor license, and could place specific conditions on the sale of beer and wine at that time.

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The Post Independent Updated Oct 17, 2012 05:56PM Published Oct 17, 2012 05:55PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.