Mike McKibbin

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February 27, 2013
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Coming soon: Beer and wine with a movie

Sometime this spring, adult movie goers in Rifle will be able to buy either a beer or a glass of wine at the Brenden 7 Theatres.

Rifle City Council voted 5-0, with Councilman Keith Lambert and Mayor Jay Miller absent, to approve a beer and wine liquor license for the theaters at its Feb. 20 meeting.

City Clerk Lisa Cain noted the application was first filed in October, but due to a delay in fingerprint records checks by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the license was delayed several times. The CBI had diverted staff to handle the crush of concealed weapon permit applications in recent months, said Police Chief John Dyer.

The delay was not a problem for Brenden Corp. Vice President of Operations Walter Eichinger.

"We are patient and want to do this right," he told the council.

Eichinger said Tuesday that Brenden planned to start serving beer and wine to Rifle customers in the last week of April or first week of May.

A detailed operations plan from Brenden to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors at the theaters was a condition of approval.

"I know that we cannot guarantee that someday a beer or wine will never make its way into the hands of a teenager in our theater," Eichinger wrote in the plan. "But it will be the top priority of our alcohol operations program."

Steps include:

• Requiring all managers and employees that serve alcohol to complete certified serving training classes. Employees who are not trained will not be permitted to serve or stock alcohol. If a patron wishes to purchase alcohol, but a trained employee is not available, the sale will be refused. This will help prevent underage patrons presenting false or invalid IDs, Eichinger wrote.

• Colored wrist bands that glow in the dark will be given to each patron who purchases alcohol and will be required to be worn. This will make it easier to identify an approved 21 and over patron and help identify an underage patron drinking alcohol in a dark theater.

• Beer and wine will be served in clear plastic cups and cannot be transferred to a regular soda Brenden logo cup. This will help identify underage patrons who may be drinking alcohol in a dark theater.

• Beer and wine will be sold from one concession register, at the far right of the stand. No other concession items will be sold at that station, so only those 21 and over can buy their drinks.

• A patron may only buy one beer or one wine per 24 hour period. And they cannot buy for another person, even if the other person is clearly over 21 and standing a few feet away in the lobby. That person will have to come to the counter and present their ID.

• At the same time as the ID check, the patron's ticket stub will be checked to ensure the theater they are in is not showing an alcohol-restricted film. Movies that are heavily marketed towards teenagers, such as Twilight, Hunger Games, The Host, will be restricted from all alcohol sales, along with G- or PG-13-rated theaters.

• Managers and security staff

will step up auditorium checks

to ensure a visible presence inside where the alcohol is being consumed.

• Each alcohol purchase will be recorded by closed-circuit TV cameras, and there will be signs at the serving station to let patrons know they are being filmed. The theater building already has cameras through the hallways and other locations.

Eichinger also said patrons will be informed about who can purchase alcohol and the consequences of breaking the rules through signs at the alcohol serving station.

Those that violate the rules and are caught will be removed from the theater without refund, and banned from the theaters for no less than three months. And a call to the non-emergency line of the police department will be made.

In addition, Brenden will fully cooperate in any undercover "test buys" to ensure employees are following all rules and restrictions.

Eichinger said the sale of alcohol will be closely controlled.

"We're not looking for a customer who wants to drink three or four beers in 90 minutes," he said. "It's limited to just one drink with a good movie."

Mayor Pro Tem Alan Lambert noted that, as with all liquor licenses, if the license holder violates conditions, sales will be shut down.

Dyer said he liked the conditions in Brenden's plan and did not anticipate any problems.

City Councilman Jonathan Rice said he was originally strongly opposed to the idea of selling drinks at the movies, but with the single drink limit under the plan's restrictions, he supported the license. It will be up for yearly renewal, as are all liquor licenses, he added.

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The Post Independent Updated Feb 27, 2013 05:29PM Published Feb 27, 2013 05:27PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.