Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
The sale of cold beer in Oxford, Mississippi is kind of like church on Sunday in the South, it just makes sense – at least that’s what some area business owners have to say a little less than two years after it became legal.
“More sales, great sales; I mean since we have been allowed to sell cold beer, we are able to pull in customers who were going across county lines to buy cold beer,” said Demetrius Ward, manager of Ward’s Shortstop on Old Taylor Road.
Ward said beer sales have been so good that they have been able to drop the prices of other goods in his store to benefit customers.
Cold beer has been for sale in Oxford since September 2013. For the fiscal year ending in June 2013, alcohol sales in Lafayette County totaled $11,642,969. A year later, and with a few months of cold beer sales in place, total sales had increased more than half a million dollars.
Anna Duncan, the manager of Habit’s Discount Tobacco & Beverage, says that her sales have grown 3 percent since they have been allowed to sell cold beer. Duncan also stated that she has seen more people buying beer now instead of whiskey.
However, Duncan says there have been some minor problems since the sale of cold beer started.
“We have times where we have to go outside and tell the customers they cannot drink in the parking lot because of open container laws, and we have problems with solicitation where customers are standing outside begging for money to buy a beer,” says Duncan.
Gaylen Michael, a lieutenant in the Oxford Police department, says he sees no direct correlation with cold beer sales and an increase in solicitation. Overall, Michael states that the Oxford Police Department had no new worries when it came to the sale of cold beer.
“No concern. We operated as usual. Beer is beer, hot or cold; the only problem was now minors trying to obtain cold beer.”
Beer has an interesting history in Oxford. In 1972, Oxford passed an ordinance for the sale of beer for the first time since before World War II; however, the beer could not be refrigerated back then.
Now, more than 40 years later, frosty beers are bringing in few problems and plenty of cold cash to local business owners.