St. Charles may create BYOB rules
Owners of bring your own beverage establishments in St. Charles might soon also have to bring special insurance and staff training to the table if they want to continue to operate.
City officials could consider licensing BYOB establishments for the first time as soon as next month. The new rules may also, for the first time, limit the amount of beer, wine or spirits a patron can bring into the businesses.
St. Charles Police Chief James Keegan told city liquor commissioners this week the city already has three BYOB establishments. Two are restaurants, and the third is more of a social club with cigars. Keegan said city and state law are silent on the operations of the establishments, and he isn't comfortable with that.
"If they are allowing someone into their establishments to consume alcohol … there's some liability there," Keegan said.
Forcing a licensing process of the BYOB establishments would be a method of ensuring dram shop insurance is secured and employees have training in spotting intoxicated customers.
Keegan envisions a two-tiered licensing program for BYOB businesses. A $100 annual license would permit beer and wine, and a $250 license would permit beer, wine and spirits.
Liquor Commissioner Maureen Lewis said BYOB and spirits is a cocktail she's not sure the city needs. Lewis highlighted concerns about group outings where each person brings a bottle of wine, or vodka or beer and there is cross sharing of the beverages.
"We're training people to not over serve," Lewis said. "Yet, I can bring in a bottle of whiskey. My husband can bring in a bottle of whiskey. How can I not be over served? I could keep serving myself. How would anyone know?"
Mayor Ray Rogina, who is the city's chief liquor commissioner, said customers and the establishment both share responsibility when it comes to over serving. He pointed out the city has no say at all in that matter when it comes to BYOB establishments because there are no local rules.
Lewis said she'd like some more thought put into the idea of allowing BYOB spirits. Any policy limiting or restricting BYOB spirits may pose a problem for existing business in the city. Keegan said two of the three businesses are on board with training, licensing and insurance. However, one of them has a system for frequent customers to keep their spirits on site.
Commissioners and city aldermen may still tweak the proposal before putting the new rules in place.