Movie theaters hope to sell alcohol soon in the River City

Local News

PEORIA, Ill.– You may soon be able to enjoy a beer on your next trip to the movies if a new ordinance becomes law in the River City.

Bryan Craig who is an Assistant General Manager from Landmark Cinemas thinks selling alcohol at theaters could encourage more people to get out to the movies, but he also says it’s important to monitor who drinks, and how much they drink.

“We’re usually pretty good at monitoring all kinds of different things. We have very strict curfew policies and very strict R-rated policies and what not. To us, we’re no stranger to having to put a moderation on things, so I think we’ll be able to iron out the details as we go along,” Craig said.

Craig thinks alcohol, in moderation, could benefit the whole movie-going experience.

“A lot of people stay at home and watch movies just because they get the more casual experience. Because they can hangout with friends, relax, lounge around and have a drink or two. I think this encourages people to actually come and do that in the cinema experience instead of just staying at home and watching Netflix and all that jazz,” Craig said.

But when city leaders first discussed allowing alcohol sales in movie theaters, some didn’t think they had enough time to read through the proposal.

Councilmen Chuck Grayeb and Dennis Cyr requested to defer the topic.

They were met by other council members who said they were being “business unfriendly.”

“I really don’t wanna be lectured on how we’re being business unfriendly. What’s business-unfriendly is the way this has been brought forward without full information for the policy-making body,” Grayeb said.

“There’s 2 of these theaters in my district. I’ve received a lot of phone calls and I was asking for a chance to talk to these gentlemen and do some more research,” said Councilman Cyr.

Representatives from AMC Theaters were asked about how they handle liquor sales at their business.

They say safety is a priority, but so is making money.

“We have to pay Hollywood 60 cents on the dollar for every ticket sale we make, regardless of if that’s an original purchase, a refund, or anything like that. So it’s in our best interest to make sure we are responsible in controlling the service of alcohol,” said AMC Theater Attorney Rob anderson.

All of AMCs’ servers and staff complete Bassett, which is an online alcohol training program.

The company also has an extremely strict protocol for employees.

One mistake could cost them their jobs.

“We card everyone at AMC. If my 95-year-old grandmother comes in and I’m working the bar, I have to card her. If I don’t, I am fired,” Anderson said.

Anderson says AMC has complete control over how much drinks cost and the company has policies in place on how much moviegoers can consume.

He adds they also have “secret shoppers” who make sure minors don’t get served.

AMC has 24 theaters in Illinois which serve alcohol. Its first location to serve alcohol was Lombard in 2002.

Anderson says AMC has a policy in place that will only allow the theater to sell alcohol as late as the local ordinance approves.

Council did approve the first reading Tuesday night, two more are needed for the ordinance to stand.

We have a poll up on our WMBD Facebook page where you can voice your opinions or concerns. Head on over, and have a voice in the discussion.

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