Patrons can now raise their BAC at the BAC

Patrons to the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University will soon be able to partake in a Budweiser or glass of wine before they enjoy the performance, as currently no food or drink is permitted in the performance hall.

At their quarterly meeting on Friday, March 1, the WCU Board of Trustees approved an amendment to the campus alcohol policy that will now allow the sale of beer and wine for selected events in the Bardo Arts Center, according to the Office of Public Relations.

In 2006, the trustees approved a similar amendment allowing alcohol sales at the Bardo Arts Center, but Jackson County’s “dry county” designation prevented the amendment from taking effect, according to the Office of Public Relations.

Luckily for alcohol consumers, Jackson County voters approved the countywide alcohol referendum and paved the way for the new amendment to the campus alcohol policy.

The new amendment authorizes Aramark, WCU’s food service contractor, to sell beer and wine at selected events in the Bardo Arts Center. According to the Office of Public Relations, Aramark will be required to adhere to all rules and regulations governing the sale of alcoholic beverages.

According to George Little, a member of WCU’s Board of Trustees and chair of the board’s administration, governance and trusteeship committee, which recommended the policy amendment, Aramark is currently in the process of obtaining the appropriate ABC permits.

Little, as well as Director of the Bardo Arts Center Paul Lormand, confirmed that the first event in the Bardo Arts Center at which beer and wine will be sold will be the production of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a musical comedy set in the 1920s, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. on April 11-13 and 3 p.m. on April 14.

As far as the amount of alcohol each patron may buy per event, Bill Studenc, senior director of news services in the Office of Public Relations, said that “limitations relative to the sale of alcohol in the Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center are being considered prior to the first event at which alcohol will sold, but limits probably will not focus on the amount of alcohol a patron may purchase. Limitations on sales/serving timeframe, consistent with other university policies, will be examined.”

Right now, it is in Aramark’s hands as to what brands/types of beer and wine will be available for purchase, but Studenc said, “It is our understanding that Budweiser products will be the brand of beer sold in the venue,” and that prices have yet to be determined.

Some patrons may be worried that the availability of alcohol may increase the number of intoxicated and unruly patrons, but Studenc said that WCU “would handle this the same way it handles drunk and disorderly conduct elsewhere on campus – WCU police have law enforcement authority to handle it appropriately.”