Let's not kid ourselves, Mizzou is going to implement alcohol sales as soon as they can. It makes sense to the university for a number of reasons. Missouri has never been a place that kowtowed to "backdoor Baptists" who proclaim the evils of alcohol, while covertly sneaking a sip from their secret flask, discreetly hidden in the hollowed-out pages of their Bible. In fact, Missouri has long had some of the most lax state laws in regard to alcohol sales and consumption. We're okay with a little drinking. We always have been.
Besides a cultural permissiveness toward alcohol, Mizzou also sees several direct benefits. Declining attendance numbers at sporting events has been well-documented. The athletics budget has run in the red for a couple of years now. And on top of everything else, the time is right. We, Show-Me-Staters, have never been the first to dive into the deep end on anything. It makes us prudently cautious, but it also often makes us late to the party. Now is the time to jump in on booze.
Many big programs have tried this now, and the results are promising. While selling beer and wine won't magically stock the stands with butts, or put the budget in the black, it will absolutely mend some wounds. And to naysayers, the fears of selling beer in games have proven unwarranted. Ohio State and West Virginia have reported a sharp decline in security incidents since allowing in-game alcohol sales. Oregon has reported a 49% decline in alcohol-related ejections since allowing beer and wine sales. This may seem counter-intuitive, but upon further inspection, it makes perfect sense.
It is no secret that fans who want to drink at a football game, will drink at a football game. Flasks and mini-bottles have always snuck their way into the stands. Now, imagine replacing (at least a portion of) those whiskey and rum flasks with domestic light beer. A raging drunk is transformed into a lovable, blurry-eyed, lush.
Many on social media are still skeptical, knowing that beer prices are likely to go north of $8 a cup. Poor college students past their 21st birthday (or boldly sporting a convincing ID) will still likely opt for bringing in their own contraband. But how many of us have poured way too much of our hard-earned cash into beer at Busch, Kauffman, Arrowhead, or the Enterprise Center (LGB!) to know that gaudy prices won't keep us from that ice cold nectar of the gods? We're going to bitch about the prices, and then go buy another round. That's how we work.
Mizzou has been one of the schools leading the charge on making alcohol available at games. Prior to joining the SEC, the Tigers were constructing a fenced-in outdoor seating area to allow the common man access to his barley bubbles. The new conference squashed those plans, so the area near the south end zone was converted into a premium tailgate area, but the intention was clear. Mizzou was okay with selling beer as soon as they could.
We like the idea for a philosophical reason too. The premium seating in the suites and lounge areas have long offered alcohol to wealthy fans who could afford it. Meanwhile, the working man and his family has been deemed not capable of handling their own consumption. It's a weird classism that you wouldn't think acceptable in the 21st century, yet we all seemed okay with it. Now that's over. The CEO and his employees can all have a cold one. So let's lift our glass and celebrate.
A Mizzou Man's Salute to Beer
Of all my favorite things to do,
The utmost is to have a brew.
My love grows for my foamy friend,
With each thirst-quenching elbow bend.
Beer’s so frothy, smooth and cold;
It’s paradise, pure liquid gold.
Yes, beer means many things to me.
That’s all for now, I gotta pee.