Tuscaloosa City Council approves alcohol sales at Coleman Coliseum


CW / David Gray

Alabama head coach Nate Oats celebrates during a Jan. 22 game against Mizzou.

Ashlee Woods | @ashleemwoods, Sports Editor

In a 6-1 vote on Tuesday, the Tuscaloosa City Council approved the sale of beer, wine and hard seltzers at Coleman Coliseum.

The state of Alabama must grant a liquor license to Levy Premium Foodservice before sales begin. 

“It’s something a lot of our fans have been asking for,” Athletic Director Greg Byrne said. “We’ve been able to watch the other schools, and the reporting we have gotten back from other schools is that alcohol incidents at their games actually go down once they sell because it’s a much more controlled environment.”

The Southeastern Conference lifted a ban on alcohol sales in public seating areas on campus in 2019. The previous ban didn’t affect suites, clubs or privately leased areas in which the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages was permitted, but it did limit the sales of alcohol in the public seating areas to beer and wine.

“Since [alcohol sales are] new to Alabama we wanted to make a good impression, and we don’t even want to take any chances,” said Herbert Tesh, a representative from Levy Premium Foodservice. “It just makes sense. It’s easier and it takes the guesswork out of it. It’s going to make a few people upset, but at the end of the day if you want to have a beer, you’re just going to have to show your ID.”

Employees at the arena will be trained to serve drinks during sporting events.

City Council President Kip Tyner hopes the city can use ticket sales to support first responder pensions.

“If we can do it to strengthen our men and women in blue and all the men and women in the fire department, then I think it’s a good thing,” Tyner said.

Additional council action is required if the University expands the sale of beer and wine at campus sporting events beyond Coleman Coliseum.

Right now, there are no plans for the University to allow the sale of alcohol during football games at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Pending approval by the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, alcohol sales at Coleman Coliseum will begin at upcoming men’s basketball, women’s basketball and gymnastics events.