Minnesota Twins Stadium Opens Self-Serve Beer Stations

140px-800px-Kriek_BeerMinnesotaTwinsThere is an interesting addition at Target Field for Minnesota Twins fans: self-serve beer stations. The machines called DraftServ will allow customers to choose between four beers and how much they want to be poured. The stations however raise some interesting liability questions under dram shop laws and negligence standards. If customers are serving themselves, it raise question over the “over serving” customers. We have previously discussed lawsuits against stadiums for such cases of excessive consumption of alcohol.

The Minnesota state law on dram shop liability is relatively short:

Subdivision 1.Right of action. A spouse, child, parent, guardian, employer, or other person injured in person, property, or means of support, or who incurs other pecuniary loss by an intoxicated person or by the intoxication of another person, has a right of action in the person’s own name for all damages sustained against a person who caused the intoxication of that person by illegally selling alcoholic beverages. All damages recovered by a minor under this section must be paid either to the minor or to the minor’s parent, guardian, or next friend as the court directs.

Illegal sales would include the sale to intoxicated persons. The customer merely go to a cash register, show their ID and preload a $10 or $20 or (for All-Star games) a $50 card. They can them extract as much beer as they want at prices like Bud Light for 38 cents per ounce. The company says that an employee will be stationed to spot any underaged persons or intoxicated persons. However, the machines will allow a person to pour up to 48 ounces of beer every 15 minutes. That is the equivalent to four beers at a time.

We previously discussed restaurants that now offer table taps and the same concerns. If there is a person stationed at these machines, it would seem that the company can claim no difference for purposes of supervision. However, as these machines become more popular, there could be serious problems with such supervision and questions raised over the amount of beer that can be withdrawn. Of course, people currently can buy an unlimited number of beer cups so long as they are above the legal age and not intoxicated. I expect another objection may be that pre-buying alcohol will encourage people to use the cards even if they could be used at a later game — leading to greater consumption at games. With such over-indulgence at growing problem at stadiums (which make their highest profits from alcohol), the new machines could exacerbate the problem.

Selling by the ounce would remove objections in other stadiums over questionable size pricing on beer. However, it will hardly stop the overcharging for beer generally. I like the Nationals stadium a great deal but I am always shocked by the roughly $10 beer prices. If you did not have a personal inclination to remain sober, the Nats give you a pretty good financial reason to do so.

Source: ABC

22 thoughts on “Minnesota Twins Stadium Opens Self-Serve Beer Stations”

  1. Paul,

    If you’ve ever practiced in federal courts the DOJ plays with the rules loosely. If you’ve ever practiced in the military courts the rules are what the trial judges say they are. Even though they are codified, that has no bearing on the presiding officers decision unless they want them too.

  2. Paul,

    As I said I don’t know it all. I will agree if the base is in the US or territories they are required to abide by local, state laws unless an except has been filed with the same.

    But as far as over seas it’s the base commanders discretion. I will probably guess you’ve never been involved in an Art 26 hearing. They too are interesting. But you know what, even the base commander can over turn the decision in one of those.

    I’m sure you know more than I, so I will leave you to your mead.

    1. AY – you are probably right on the out of country bases. Base commanders have a lot of power so I suppose they can decide the legal drinking age. I remember we dropped the drinking age and then the new drunks started killing more people on the highways, so we upped the age again.

  3. Well if somebody is going to loose a job to increase efficiency at least it is for an important cause.

    Any word if you can just wave your smart phone to pay for it?

    And will they have those half gallon cups like at 7-11?

  4. I may be incorrect, but I think the drinking age is still established by the base commander. If they are at sea it’s drink at your own risk.

    I agree that if not on a military installation that one should be able to drink, regardless of the states min drinking age.

    1. AY – I vaguely (an vaguely is the operative word here) remember that sometime in the 70s or 80s the military changed the legal limit to 21.

  5. Traveling Limey

    I couldn’t agree more with your comment about adults 18-21 being told they cannot buy or consume alcohol but our government has no problem recruiting them to die in a battlefield somewhere.

    Twenty year olds cannot be trusted with alcohol in the military but they can be trusted with handling anything from hand grenades to nuclear weapons.

    Back around 1987, Idaho’s drinking age was 19 as was a few other states. Then the federal government decided to exercise its control and coerced the states into adopting the 21 year majority by threatening to withhold funds.

    1. Darren – what we really do not want is 18-21 handling hand grenades and nuclear weapons while drunk. Actually, during the 60s, if you were underage military you could drink on the base. I think they stopped that at some point.

  6. Finally, a sober comment! Why the heck shouldn’t you get beer from a machine if you want to? Not only are the adults treated like kids with these endless laws, but even legal age adults between 18 and 21 are told they are still minors as far as alcohol is concerned. You can die in Iraq fighting for the Illuminati but you can’t have a beer in your own country! Its 18 or less everywhere else, except most of the Arab world where the Iman tells you what to do.

  7. Without someone licensed by the state judging our worthiness to be treated as adults, how can people ever be expected to act responsibly? (I think there’s a contradiction in there somewhere.)

  8. If they are worried about over consumption they should just change the settings on the machine. Give a smaller amount and more time in between and it would be a better idea. Not a great idea but a better one.

  9. The new machines will undoubtedly increase beer consumption. Which means that lawsuits will not be far behind.

  10. Only adult humans can sell beer. Period. No machines, no kids, no dogs, no cats.

  11. Being forced to Go to a twins game should be a sobering experience…… Who is going to be the designated card holder?

  12. I saw beer vending machines in public squares in Portugal about ten years ago. It wasn’t controversial at all there I presume.

  13. Paul, Very true. The Yankees annually have the highest salary in baseball thanks to the likes of that drunken Rip Van Winkle we saw yesterday.

  14. Although movie theaters (and I spelled it correctly) claim to be in the movie business, their real business is concessions. Under current licensing agreements, movie theaters may not get any profit from the first three weeks of a movie. The payroll is made by selling you those over-priced concessions.
    For a sports team, the vendor has to make a profit (they are paying ground rent [usually high because they have a monopoly] and then kicking a percentage of the profits up to the owner of the team. Hence the high price of anything at the park. So, your ten dollar beer is helping to pay the salary of some over-priced athlete standing on the field. And the more beer you drink, the more they can pay that over-priced athlete.

  15. Ten Cent Beer Night in Cleveland was the last one of those promotions. It was in the 70’s and the Rangers were in town, managed by Billy Martin! The fans started pouring beer on the Rangers and Billy led the charge into the stands w/ bats.

  16. Back when Augie Busch owned the St. Louis Cardinals, they had a “free beer” night as a publicity stunt. The results made for a feature article on the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the next day.

    I didn’t go. My wife and I had discussed going, but both of us had a bad feeling about it.

    AFAIK, they never tried that again.

  17. Target Field is one of the few places this might work. I listed civil ballparks a day or two ago and failed to list Target, which along w/ Petco Park in San Diego, is a breath of fresh air. You can take kids and not be protecting them from drunkenness and profanity.

    Wi., w/ the strongest tavern and liquor lobby in the US, have no dram shop laws. The only liability an innkeeper has is if they serve a minor.

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