On any Sunday afternoon during football season, it's a sure bet that a fair number of adults attending professional games will buy and consume a beer or two or three while at the stadium. Every National Football League stadium is licensed to sell alcohol. Millions more fans watch the games at home or at one of the thousands of bars, restaurants or brewpubs licensed to sell alcohol as well.
In fact, going to restaurants and bars to watch football is about as popular as attending the games in person, according to BeerBoard, a company that monitors more than 50,000 draft beer lines at licensed locations. During the first Sunday of the 2017 NFL season, BeerBoard reported that total beer consumption nationwide rose 36.6 percent from the week before.
The alcoholic beverage industry is on a winning streak. Where and when you can sip a shiraz or down a pale ale is expanding way beyond the local pub. An economic impact study for the American Beverage Licensees, a trade association representing U.S. beer, wine and spirits retailers, found that the industry generated $295.4 billion in total economic activity in 2016, paid $25.3 billion in federal taxes, supported 1.94 million jobs directly and contributed to another 4.27 million jobs indirectly.
Widening the Watering Hole
While drinking alcohol at a football game may not be unusual, drinking in some other places is, or at least was, until recently. States have begun licensing businesses outside the traditional food-and-beverage and sports industries to sell or serve alcohol--places like movie theaters, hair salons, spa resorts and art galleries.
For movie theaters, the hope is that alcohol will turn the tide of flat or declining attendance. Along with alcohol sales, theater owners have turned to reserved stadium seating with reclining seats to entice people to leave the comfort of homes equipped with on-demand Netflix and cozy couches for a few hours at the movies.
AMC Theatres, the largest U.S. movie chain, has even partnered with Hollywood film studios to create themed drinks, which recently included a Fifty Shades cocktail during the showing of "Fifty Shades Darker," and a concoction called the Pennywise, inspired by this fall's thriller "It."
More than 30 states and local governments now allow movie theaters to sell alcohol through stand-alone bars or full-service restaurants.
Delaware, for example, licenses theater operators to serve drinks within the theater or where movies are being shown. But...